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Cranial Orthosis for Plagiocephaly

Section: Orthotic & Prosthetic Devices
Effective Date: July 01, 2018
Revised Date: November 14, 2019

Description

A cranial orthosis used in the treatment of plagiocephaly is a device intended for medical purposes to apply pressure to prominent regions of an infant's cranium in order to improve cranial symmetry and/or shape.

This policy is designed to address medical guidelines that are appropriate for the majority of individuals with a particular disease, illness, or condition. Each person's unique clinical circumstances may warrant individual consideration, based on review of applicable medical records.

Criteria

Coverage is subject to the specific terms of the member’s benefit plan.

Non-synostotic Plagiocephaly

Cranial orthotic devices used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe non-synostotic plagiocephaly may be considered medically necessary when ALL of the following criteria are met:

  • The infant must have tried and failed conservative therapy (i.e., repositioning) for a minimum of two (2) months; and
  • The infant must be 3 - 18 months of age; and
  • Cranial asymmetry is documented by EITHER of the following: 
    • Moderate to severe plagiocephaly in ONE of the following anthropometric dimensions (Table 1): 
      • Cranial vault; or 
      • Cranial base; or 
      • Orbitotragial depth; or
    • Cephalic index measurement is two (2) standard deviations above or below the mean (Table 2)

Cranial orthosis is considered cosmetic when used in the treatment of non-synostotic plagiocephaly with mild deformity and/or when a minimum trial period of two (2) months of conservative therapy has not been tried. Therefore, these services are non-covered.

Synostotic Plagiocephaly

Cranial orthotic devices used in the post-operative treatment of synostotic plagiocephaly may be considered medically necessary for infants with moderate to severe residual plagiocephaly after surgical correction when cranial asymmetry is documented by ANY of the following:

  • Moderate to severe plagiocephaly in ONE of the following anthropometric dimensions (Table 1): 
    • Cranial vault; or 
    • Cranial base; or 
    • Orbitotragial depth; or
  • Cephalic index measurement is two (2) standard deviations above or below the mean (Table 2).

When reported as the sole treatment for synostotic plagiocephaly (Craniosynostosis), both the helmet and the band are considered not medically necessary.

Procedure Codes

L0112 L0113 S1040

Table O-13:
Determination of Severity of Plagiocephaly
Determination of the severity of plagiocephaly requires precise measurements of the skull using either the
cephalic index or anthropomorphic measurements.


Table 1
Specifications for Taking Anthropometric Measurements

Comparative Cranial Landmarks
Cranial Vault Left frontozygomatic point (fz) to right euryon (eu) minus  right frontozygomatic point (fz) to left euryon (eu)
Cranial Base Subnasal point (sn) to left tragus (t) minus subnasal point (sn) to right tragus (t)
Orbitotragial Depth Left exocanthion point (ex) to left tragus (t) minus right exocanthion point (ex) to right tragus (t)


Moderate to severe plagiocephaly is defined as one of the following:
Cranial base (sn – t): >= 6 mm difference between left and right measurements
Cranial vault (fz – contralateral eu): >= 8 mm difference between left and right measurements
Obitotragial depth (ex – t): >= 4 mm difference between left and right measurements

Table 2

Cephalic Index: Head with (eu-eu) x 100
Head length (g - op)


Moderate to severe plagiocephaly is defined as a cephalic index two standard deviations above or below the mean. Infants with deformational scaphocephaly will have a lower cephalic index due to a very long and narrow skull deformity. Infants with deformational brachycephaly will have an increased cephalic index due to a very wide and short skull deformity. 

Gender Age -2SD -1SD Mean +1SD +2SD
Male 16 days - 6 months 63.7 68.7 73.7 78.7 83.7
  6-12 months 64.8 71.4 78 84.6 91.2
Female 16 days - 6 months 63.9 68.6 73.3 78 82.7
  6-12 months 69.5 74 78.5 83 87.5

Assessment of plagiocephaly may be based on anthropomorphic measures of the head, using anatomical and bony landmarks. However, there is no accepted minimum objective level of asymmetry for a plagiocephaly diagnosis. The following table presents normative values and the mean pretreatment asymmetries reported in large case series. These may be useful in determining if a significant variation from normal is present.

Table 3

Normative Values

Study Cranial Base (mm) Cranial Vault (mm) Orbitotragial Distance (mm)
Moss (1) NR 9.2 7.1*
Littlefield et. al. (2) 6.17 8.5 4.36
Teichgreber et. al. (3) 7.08 8.53 3.12

*In this report, the asymmetry was measured from the tragus to the frontozygomatic point instead of the exocanthion

Diagnosis Codes

Covered Diagnosis Codes for Procedure Codes L0112, L0113 and S1040.

Q67.3 Q75.0 Q75.8

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