Head & Neck Deformities

At the Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, we offer comprehensive evaluations of your child’s head and neck. We listen to your concerns and suggest ways to correct any abnormalities such as plagiocephaly and torticollis. 

We work in-house with STARband®, which decreases the number of office visits a family has to make and provides direct communication between the doctor and orthotist. 

Since Dr. Stelnicki is a craniofacial surgeon, he is one the most highly qualified doctors to see and treat your child. We will monitor growth of your child's condition and make sure there are no other underlying medical disorders.

Dr. Eric Stelnicki and his team of pediatric specialists use noninvasive treatments to treat head and neck deformities, including physical therapy and helmet therapy as needed. 

Very rarely is surgical treatment needed, but if necessary, Dr. Stelnicki’s experience as a pediatric reconstructive surgeon is available to you. We deliver excellent patient outcomes, with many deformities corrected by the child’s first birthday.


Deformational Plagiocephaly is one of the most common type of infant skull deformities and is normally noticed at about 6 to 10 weeks of age. It is characterized by an asymmetrical skull shape with a unilateral occipital flattening. The ear and forehead are both positioned more on the anterior side of the occipital flattening. There may be facial asymmetry, and can also be accompanied by torticollis, limited neck range of motion, weakness and preferential head positioning.

Plagiocephaly is becoming a worldwide concern. It occurs in up to 1 in every 50 newborns today. The condition is a deformity of the skull that occurs from the child sleeping in the same position, usually on the back, which causes the soft bones of the skull to become flat or abnormally shaped.

Treatment usually includes positioning the child differently (not on their back) if caught very early, and the use of an orthotic remolding helmet (helmet therapy). In severe cases, a surgical procedure can be performed to reshape the head.


Plagiocephaly is commonly associated with a neck deformity called torticollis, which is a congenital tightening of a neck muscle (sternocleidomastoid). This condition presents as an abnormal tilt or abnormal rotation of the head to one side or the other.

It is essential that torticollis is ruled out in any child who has plagiocephaly. If torticollis is not treated, then treatment for plagiocephaly will not be fully effective and the condition will persist. Torticollis is treated with physical therapy and an at-home stretching and exercise regimen.

Treatment options for torticollis at the Atlantic Center include physical therapy, Botox®, TOT collar, or surgery. Ninety percent of patients are treated non-surgically, but if surgery is needed, we offer both open and endoscopic repair for selected patients.

Helmet Therapy

The helmet (cranial molding orthosis) provides a rounded surface, so your baby won't prefer to lay on the flattened spot. Dr. Stelnicki has successfully used helmet therapy to treat plagiocephaly that has not been responsive to positioning. The helmet must be adjusted by the provider every two weeks to accommodate the rapid growth of the baby's head.

The length of helmet therapy typically depends on the age at which the child begins therapy. To be effective, the helmet must be worn 23 hours per day. More than one helmet may be needed to complete the therapy.

The most effective time to begin helmet therapy is when the head circumference is growing most rapidly, which in most children begins at approximately 4½ months. Cranial remodeling devices can be used effectively up to 18 months old, and in rare patients, even beyond that.


The Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery has a STARscanner™ Laser Data Acquisition System in our clinic. This FDA-approved device allows us to quickly, safely and easily perform a 3D surface scan of your baby's head.

The scanner users an eye-safe laser and does not involve any radiation. The scan takes two seconds to complete. The data from this device allows us to analyze your child's head shape as well as plan for a customized molding helmet, should this be required.

For babies with craniosynostosis undergoing helmet or surgical therapies, we can use the data from the STARscanner to track their progress and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

Having this scanner in our office allows patients to see Dr Stelnicki or his PA, obtain their STAR imaging and consult with the orthotist who will be involved in the customization and adjustment of the helmet, all in one place, and in a single visit.

Our compassionate pediatric head and neck experts can help put your mind at ease while educating you about your treatment options. Call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified pediatric specialists in South Florida today. You may also request an appointment online.

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