OBJECTIVES Assess the efficiency of cranial osteopathic techniques in infants from 0 to 11 months suffering from low/moderate positional plagiocephaly (PP) in comparison with the conventional procedure of postural handling.
MATERIAL AND METHODOLOGY Controlled and open prospective experimental study with control group and randomized group. The target population is a group of infants from 0 to 11 months treated for PP by Primary Care Physicians. Compact sample with 45 children divided into two groups: control group and osteopathic intervention. The combined efficiency variable uses cranial diagonal measurements and Likert analog scale.
RESULTS 45 patients with PP were divided into two groups: conventional-control (23 individuals) and interventional (22 individuals). The sample was chosen by consecutive sampling and the distribution was done at random. In the whole sample, 64.4 % were males, with right predominance in 68.9 % of the cases. The statistic tests carried out were the non-parametric test (Mann Whitney U) and the Fisher statistics. The results of the Likert scale assessed by parents show an improvement of 47.6 % in the control group and of 94.4 % in the intervention group with p = 0,002. The same results assessed by a professional therapist show an improvement of 28.6 % in the control group and 100 % in the intervention group with p < 0.001. The improvement in the diagonal measurements reflects a positive evolution of 77.8 % in the control group, while the result for the intervention group is 64.7 % with p = 0,471. CONCLUSIONS The clinical profile of infants suffering from PP who have been part of this study matches the profile given by previous descriptive research on this pathology. The results differ according to the combined variable to be assessed. With the Likert scale assessment (either by parents or by the professional therapist), the interventional group has a better progression (94.4 % and 100% respectively) than the control group, with good statistic significance (p = 0.002 and p < 0.001). On the other hand, with cranial measurement through photography with cranial and caudal incidence, where it is impossible to detail the osseous and/or anatomical references, improvement has been more relevant in the control group with a score of 77.8 %, compared to 64.7% for the group which received the treatment. It would be necessary to set those references to objectify the cranial and facial asymmetries and diagnose PP without specifying the diagnostic imaging techniques, so that they could be applied to the protocolized assessment of healthy children by Primary Care Physicians. This is the first research done on the validity of osteopathic techniques for the treatment of plagiocephaly. It proves the rate of efficiency for the improvement of the patient with very reduced or nil side effects. Further research on this field should be promoted to encourage the use of these therapeutic techniques in addition to traditional medicine.