Deformational plagiocephaly refers to the development of an abnormal head shape in infants resulting from externally applied molding forces, which may occur either prenatally or postnatally. We have observed that an unexpectedly high number of multiple-birth infants have presented to our center with this condition. The purposes of this investigation were to: 1) determine the significance of this observation; and 2) examine the risk factors that may make this population more susceptible to the development of plagiocephaly.

Materials and Methods. 

A retrospective review of our database was performed to identify those infants who were of multiple-birth origin. The parents of these infants were contacted by phone to complete a survey regarding the prenatal and postnatal history of their child. Similar information was obtained for the state of Arizona from the Office of Vital Statistics. A χ2analysis was used to compare the incidence of multiple births in Arizona with the incidence of multiple births in our treatment population.


Between 1993 and 1996, 69 (8.6%) of the 801 infants treated for deformational plagiocephaly at our Phoenix center were of multiple-birth origin. Four infants who had been treated postoperatively after surgery for craniosynostosis, as well as 5 patients who had been referred from out of state, were excluded from further study. The χ2 analysis of the remaining 60 patients confirmed that a statistically significant number of plural-birth infants had presented with deformational plagiocephaly. Four risk factors were identified as having occurred at high frequency in this population: in utero constraint, supine sleeping position, torticollis, and prematurity.


The current findings of this investigation confirm that a significant number of multiple-birth infants have presented to our clinic with deformational plagiocephaly. Compared with their singleton counterparts, plural infants seem to be at higher risk for the development of deformational plagiocephaly, because they are more likely to be exposed to multiple risk factors.deformational plagiocephaly, multiple birth, plurality.

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