Gillette CranioCap® Orthosis

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s Center for Craniofacial Services treats more than 1,000 children each year who have deformational plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Gillette was one of the nation’s first hospitals to develop a custom orthosis—the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis—to correct the condition. The Gillette CranioCap® orthosis was the nation’s first orthosis for deformational plagiocephaly to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Why Choose Gillette?

  • Our experts collaborate to provide comprehensive treatments that maximize results.
  • We pride ourselves on achieving the best possible outcomes in appearance and function.
  • Our state-of-the-art technology and facilities are designed specifically for your child’s needs.
  • Our Gillette CranioCap® orthosis was the nation’s first FDA approved orthosis for deformational plagiocephaly, so our specialists have extensive knowledge of the treatment.

About the CranioCap® Orthosis

The Gillette CranioCap® orthosis is an orthotic helmet that corrects deformational plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome). Deformational plagiocephaly is a condition in which a baby’s head has a flattened, uneven or irregular shape caused by external forces. Because the head might naturally rest on a slightly flattened area, the condition can worsen if untreated.

Sometimes plagiocephaly corrects itself. We can’t predict, however, which infants will have plagiocephaly that corrects itself, so we’ll guide families and caregivers in their decision to treat the condition with a Gillette CranioCap® orthosis.

Austin's custom Gillette CranioCap® orthosis gradually rounds his head over three to four months. The Gillette CranioCap® orthosis has a close fit in some areas and is open in others. As Austin’s brain grows, his skull slowly molds into the open areas of the orthosis, rounding his head over time.


The best time for infants to begin wearing the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis is when they are 4 to 6 months old. We can, however, initiate the process in babies up to 12 months old. After that, an orthosis is less likely to change the shape of the baby’s head because most of the brain’s growth occurs during the first 13 months of life.

More than half of babies who have deformational plagiocephaly also have a condition called torticollis. Our interdisciplinary team can help families and caregivers coordinate any additional services needed to treat associated conditions, such as physical therapy to treat torticollis. Because each case is unique, and several factors can influence the decision to use a Gillette CranioCap® orthosis, families should consult with a craniofacial expert to guide their decisions.

What to Expect

We begin by scanning the head with special laser technology. Our Assistive Technology staff uses the laser to create a three-dimensional model on a computer to help create a lightweight Gillette CranioCap® orthosis. The laser scan does not take long, but the infant’s head should be as still as possible. The appointment for the evaluation and laser scan typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour. A fitting for the orthosis typically takes place two weeks after the laser scan.

Each Gillette CranioCap® orthosis is custom-fit to each baby’s unique head shape. The orthosis is close fitting in some areas and is open in others. As the baby’s brain grows, the skull is slowly molded into the open areas of the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis, rounding the head over time. It generally takes two to three months for this process to occur.

Care and Outcomes

Before babies begin wearing a Gillette CranioCap® orthosis, they need an evaluation by one of our craniofacial specialists. Once treatment begins, Gillette orthotists see infants one week after the initial fitting and every two weeks for evaluation and adjustments.

It’s important to continually monitor and adjust the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis during the treatment process. Depending on the progress of the correction and the fit of the orthosis, we’ll adjust the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis as needed. If the orthosis needs adjustment, we remove the orthosis, heat it and reshape it to accommodate new growth.

We recommend that infants wear their orthosis 23 hours a day to achieve the best possible outcomes. Follow-up appointments can take place at our St. Paul, Burnsville, Maple Grove or Minnetonka clinic locations, in addition to outreach sites throughout greater Minnesota.

Medical Insurance Questions

At Gillette, the cost of an orthosis and weekly to bi-weekly management is part of a single charge. Most insurance plans usually cover the services. Some insurance companies, however, might consider the correction of deformational plagiocephaly to be cosmetic rather than a medical necessity.

We encourage you to check with your insurance carrier regarding coverage. If you have difficulty obtaining coverage for a Gillette CranioCap® orthosis or meeting obligations for co-payments, Gillette has financing options available.

Our Gillette CranioCap® Orthosis Services

Gillette’s integrated, physician-directed approach to assessing and treating deformational plagiocephaly leads to the best possible care and outcomes. As one of the nation’s first hospitals to develop an orthosis to treat the condition, our experts can guide families through the services they need—from initial diagnosis to completion of treatment.

Specialties and services most often associated the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis include:

For more information about Gillette’s comprehensive services, search Conditions and Care.

Publications and Resources

Our Craniofacial Services Outcomes Report provides an overview of clinical activities, clinical advancements and outcomes. Read about our cure rates for torticollis, learn about plagiocephaly care and more.

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