Positional plagiocephaly following ventriculoperitoneal shunting in neonates and infancy-how serious is it?

Stuart A G Roberts, Joseph D Symonds, Reema Chawla, Emma Toman, Jonathan Bishop, Guirish A Solanki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


PURPOSE: We test the hypothesis that ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt insertion significantly increases contralateral positional plagiocephaly.

METHODS: We reviewed 339 children who had a VP shunt inserted at Birmingham Children's Hospital between 2006 and 2013, noting laterality of shunt insertion and frontal or occipital position. We ascertained the presence of post-operative positional plagiocephaly using the cranial vault asymmetry index. Multinomial logistic regression modelling was used to examine relationships between plagiocephaly, shunt position, gender and age. Adjusted odds and risk ratios for effect of variables on plagiocephaly were calculated.

RESULTS: Children with occipital VP shunts are at significant risk of developing contralateral positional plagiocephaly, particularly in the first 12 months of life.

CONCLUSIONS: We recommend careful follow-up and advice regarding head positioning following surgery. There should be consideration for active monitoring to avoid plagiocephaly, including physiotherapy and health visitor interventions. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy in selected cases or anterior shunt placement could be considered. A larger national study would be of interest to evaluate the extent of an otherwise correctable problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number2
Early online date15 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Plagiocephaly, Nonsynostotic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt
  • Ventriculostomy
  • Journal Article


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