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Caput succedaneum


Definition:

Caput succedaneum is swelling of the scalp in a newborn. It is most often brought on by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first (vertex) delivery.

Alternative Names:

Caput

Symptoms:
  • Soft, puffy swelling on the scalp in a newborn infant
  • Possible bruising or color change on the scalp swelling
  • Swelling that may extend to both sides of the scalp
  • Swelling that is most often seen on the portion of the head which presented first
  • Increase in molding of the bones of the head
Signs and tests:

The doctor will look at the swelling to confirm that it is a caput succedaneum. No other testing is needed.

Treatment:

No treatment is needed. The problem usually goes away on its own within a few days.

Expectations (prognosis):

Complete recovery can be expected. The scalp will go back to a normal shape.

Complications:

Complications may include a yellow color to the skin (jaundice).

Calling your health care provider:

Most of the time, the problem is noticed right after birth. You do not need to call your doctor unless you have other questions.

References:

Mangurten HH. Birth Injuries. In: Fanaroff AA, Martin RJ, eds. Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine: Diseases of the Fetus and Infant. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010.


Review Date: 5/10/2013
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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