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STARscanner, STARband Cranial Helmets Making a Difference in the Lives of Children
Date:4/30/2008

Charleston infant benefits from cutting-edge treatment

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- At five months of age, Amelia Sandin of Charleston was diagnosed with craniosynostosis, a condition that leads to premature fusion of the cranial sutures, or fontanels, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth.

After undergoing surgery to correct the condition, Amelia's skull was growing in an asymmetrical fashion, a problem which can lead to developmental delays, visual impairment and misaligned ears, eyes, and jaw.

Amelia's neurosurgeon referred her family to an orthotic bracing specialist for a cranial remolding evaluation. Allen McWhirt, an ABC-certified orthotist at Floyd Brace Company, evaluated Amelia at four months of age, following consultation with her neurosurgeon.

Amelia underwent a painless two-second computerized scan giving the orthotic specialist the information necessary to fabricate a plastic and foam cranial band, which is used to gently reshape a baby's head. Once the scanning process was completed, a STARband cranial helmet was custom-fabricated for Amelia by Orthomerica.

STARband is a custom-made, FDA-approved device used to begin the cranial shaping process. Helmets are worn 23 hours daily for three to six months, channeling head growth by applying constant, gentle pressure on raised areas of the head, while leaving room for growth in depressed areas. The helmet's interior is modified every two to three weeks to account for growth and changes.

Cranial remolding treatment is most effective if started at four to six months of age. Pediatricians, physical therapists and orthotists should begin evaluations and observation as early as possible, as correction is greatly reduced beyond 18 months of age.

"Going through her surgery was a horrible experience, and knowing she would have to have a helmet worried us," said Amelia's mother, Allison Sandin. "But Amelia did fantastic with the helmet and only had to wear it for a short time."

McWhirt's clinic prefers the Orthomerica STARscanner system, a revolutionary, eye-safe laser system that scans a child's head in under two seconds. Providing detailed measurements, it is faster and cleaner than the plaster casting formerly used to obtain the same information.

"Amelia was one of the first children to benefit from the STARscanner at our clinic," McWhirt said. "This system allows necessary information to be taken easily before, during, and after treatment allowing for the best possible fit of the helmet, as well as providing important clinical data along the way."

After wearing the STARband helmet for a little more than four months and visiting Floyd Brace Company every other week for adjustment, Amelia completed STARband treatment much earlier than anticipated.

"We were so worried that the helmet would be uncomfortable for Amelia, and that it would effect her development," Sandin said. "But she did fantastic with it, and the entire process just became very routine. We actually had to wean her off of wearing the helmet. Now it's sitting on one of the dolls in her room. We wish that this didn't have to happen, but it worked, and we were blessed with the technology and the professionals to take care of it."

About Floyd Brace Company Orthotics and Prosthetics

With five full-service facilities conveniently located throughout the Lowcountry, Floyd Brace Company Orthotics and Prosthetics provides a full range of orthotic, prosthetic and pedorthic services. For more information regarding the company's clinicians and services provided, please visit http://www.floydbrace.com or call 843-722-8827.

About the STARband

The STARband is a custom-fabricated cranial remolding orthosis manufactured by Orthomerica Products, Inc. It can be either fabricated from 3-D head shape data, such as a scan from a STARscanner system or by taking a plaster impression. The headband is worn 23 hours a day, channeling head growth by applying constant, gentle contact on protruding areas while leaving room for growth in depressed ones. The interior is modified often to allow for growth. Head shape problems are not life threatening and are correctable if treated by 18 months of age. The STARband is the most prescribed cranial remolding orthosis in the world, with over 50,000 babies benefiting from STARband treatment since 2001.

About the STARscanner

Following diagnosis, treatment formerly began by a plaster casting of the head -- a 15-30 minute messy, and sometimes traumatic, process. Orthomerica's STARscanner uses safe, non-contact laser scanning technology to obtain precise measurements in less than two seconds and captures 3-D head shape data, accurate within 0.5 mm. Treatment is most effective when measurements are accurate and submitted promptly, enabling the helmet to be manufactured and fit in a timely period before the head shape changes further. For more information visit http://www.orthomerica.com.


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SOURCE Orthomerica Products, Inc.
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