Helping Infants with a Cranial Remolding Orthosis (CRO)

What Is a Cranial Remolding Orthosis?

A CRO is a “helmet” that is fitted to a child’s head to treat deformational plagiocephaly, brachycephaly, and other head shape deformities in infants 3-8 months of age. Sometimes referred to a flat spot on the skull, it is actually quite common with as many as one in 10 babies needing treatment with a CRO.

Flat spots have several causes, including: restricted space inside the womb; prolonged time in the birth canal; and certain delivery methods, which can alter the soft and pliable newborn’s skull. Another common cause is the practice of letting the infant sleep on their back or extended time in infant seats, swings or strollers.

If the pediatrician diagnoses a baby with plagiocephaly or brachycephaly, a prescription will likely be given for helmet therapy. The goal is to provide a safe environment for the baby’s head to grow into a more normal shape. The helmet does not pressure the head, but instead facilitates proper growth.

Infants are best treated between 3 and 8 months of age because of the rapid skull growth during that time. The older the child, the less effective the treatment is. However, helmets are still effective until the infant is 12 months old.

How Is the Helmet Made?

At Orthologix, we treat our smallest patients using the STARband from Orthomerica. The STARband name is derived from its purpose – Symmetry Through Active Remolding.

The helmet orthosis provides total contact over the prominent areas of the skull and leaves a void over the flattened areas to facilitate more normal skull symmetry. The rigid outer shell maintains the structural design integrity and is either lined with closed cell foam to allow progressive adjustments or is made of a clear thermo-plastic material, which allows easy visual inspection of the areas of contact and voids within the orthosis.

So that the helmet exactly conforms to the baby’s cranium, we use a laser scan, which takes less than 2 seconds and enables us to create a custom cranial remolding helmet that is accurate to 0.5mm. Once the baby is properly fitted with the helmet, he/she may fuss for awhile, but our experience is that the baby soon gets used to it. The CRO does not cause the child any pain and positive results are usually seen in a matter of 3 to 6 months. However, the helmet must be worn 23 hours a day with short breaks allowed. Follow-up visits with the orthotist are necessary throughout the treatment program to allow for modification of the helmet to accommodate growth, promote symmetry, and improve proportion.

Many parents opt for customizing the outer shell with color, stickers, or artwork. STARband offers many designs that can be laminated to the helmet.

If you would like more information, please contact us at Orthologix. We are experienced in all pediatric orthotic treatment and our board-certified clinicians ensure all children receive gentle, tender care.


For more information on our orthotic or prosthetic services, contact us: ORTHOLOGIX® // 2655 Interplex Drive, Suite 101 // Trevose, PA 19053 // Phone: (800) 659-9755

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