Hudson gets a helmet using 3D technology

Hudson gets a helmet using 3D technology

Hudson Churchill was born one month premature. Because of his particularly tender skull, he began to develop a large flat spot on the back of his head called plagiocephaly. His mom, Adele, tried to round out the flatness with a special donut pillow for his car seat and lots of tummy time but neither helped. When he was six months old, she brought him to the Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O) Department at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS).

“if he had crooked teeth, we would get him braces. So why wouldn’t we get him a helmet?”

Hudson was diagnosed with moderate plagiocephaly. The condition is cosmetic and doesn’t affect brain development but his mom decided a custom cranial remoulding helmet was the right decision, “if he had crooked teeth, we would get him braces. So why wouldn’t we get him a helmet?”

Hudson's head is scanned using 3D technology
Hudson’s head is scanned using 3D technology
Becki Westover looks at Hudson's scan on a computer
Becki Westover looks at Hudson’s scan on a computer

Hudson was the first patient to use new 3D scanning technology at HHS’s P&O Department for a helmet scan. The scanner created a digital image of Hudson’s head. That image was then used by a special machine to carve an exact model of the head out of polyurethane foam.

Orthotist, Becki Westover, then sculpted the model, adding additional material to the flat side so it was symmetrical. Helmets don’t push against the head. Instead they leave a gap for the flat spot to grow into, so building an ideal model is very important. When Westover finished with the model, orthotic technician, Matthew Durrer, used it to mould a foam liner and custom coloured helmet.

Hudson laughs as orthotist, Becki Westover, checks his helmet liner
Hudson laughs as orthotist, Becki Westover, checks his helmet liner

Just one week after his scan, Hudson came back for his helmet fitting. Westover measured the foam liner against his head and made small adjustments until it was a perfect fit. Then she trimmed the outer shell to match and ta-da, Hudson has a helmet!

Orthotist, Becki Westover, fits Hudson's helmet
Orthotist, Becki Westover, fits Hudson’s helmet

Because of the accuracy of the 3D scanning equipment, Westover will be able to measure small changes in Hudson’s head shape and track his progress. Timing varies case by case but there’s a good chance that Hudson’s remoulding will be complete by his first birthday. Until then, he’s happy rocking a stylish helmet.

Hudson tries on his helmet.
Hudson tries on his helmet.

You can find more information about prosthetics and orthotics here.