We assessed the neurodevelopment of infants with and without deformational plagiocephaly (DP), at an average age of 6 months.


The Bayley Scales of Infant Development III (BSID-III) were administered to 235 case subjects and 237 demographically similar, control participants. Three-dimensional head photographs were randomized and rated for severity of deformation by 2 craniofacial dysmorphologists who were blinded to case status.


We excluded 2 case subjects with no photographic evidence of DP and 70 control subjects who were judged to have some degree of DP. With control for age, gender, and socioeconomic status, case subjects performed worse than control subjects on all BSID-III scales and subscales. Case subjects' average scores on the motor composite scale were ∼10 points lower than control subjects' average scores (P < .001). Differences for the cognitive and language composite scales were ∼5 points, on average (P < .001 for both scales). In subscale analyses, case subjects' gross-motor deficits were greater than their fine-motor deficits. Among case subjects, there was no association between BSID-III performance and the presence of torticollis or infant age at diagnosis.


DP seems to be associated with early neurodevelopmental disadvantage, which is most evident in motor functions. After follow-up evaluations of this cohort at 18 and 36 months, we will assess the stability of this finding. These data do not necessarily imply that DP causes neurodevelopmental delay; they indicate only that DP is a marker of elevated risk for delays. Pediatricians should monitor closely the development of infants with this condition.

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