Caput succedaneum vs cephalohematoma

While both cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum are birth injuries to the head of an infant, they have different causes and symptoms. Cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum are usually not serious or life-threatening, but there are some risks and complications to be aware of.

Birth injuries that cause a baby’s head to enlarge are called caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma.

While there are significant distinctions between caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma, one thing they have in common is that they both terrify parents, yet they are usually not serious and heal on their own in a short amount of time.

What is caput succedaneum?

Caput succedaneum is a birth injury that causes swelling or edema to a baby’s scalp shortly after birth as a result of pressure on the baby’s head. This swelling of the neonatal scalp crosses suture lines where the bony plates of the skull connect together and spreads across the edematous zone above the periosteum. (A neonatal cephalohematoma, on the other hand, does not cross the suture lines.)

This is not a life-threatening condition, despite the discomfort it can cause. However, because caput succedaneum can cause additional health problems, like as jaundice, it’s critical that if your child has this illness, he or she receives fast diagnosis and treatment. Although the ailment will normally go away on its own, the chance that it is linked to or caused by a more serious condition demands extra caution to ensure that nothing worse develops.

What causes caput succedaneum?

Caput Succedaneum is caused by prolonged pressure on the baby’s head from the cervix or vaginal wall. Other causes that can produce caput succedaneum and increase pressure on a baby’s head include:

  • Forceps are used to deliver the baby.
  • Vacuum extraction is used for delivery.
  • Prolonged labor
  • Membrane rupturing
  • Low levels of amniotic fluid
  • Contractions that occur infrequently (also known as Braxton-Hicks contractions)
  • Position of the fetus is abnormal.

Caput Succedaneum Symptoms

The following are some of the symptoms of caput succedaneum:

  • Swelling or puffiness of the scalp
  • bruising of the scalp (in some cases, facial bruising may be present)
  • Bumps on the scalp

How is caput succedaneum diagnosed?

A physical examination is usually adequate to diagnose caput succedaneum, and observation of visible signs (such as swelling or bruising) is usually sufficient. Caput succedaneum, on the other hand, can usually be spotted via ultrasound if it develops in utero as a result of premature rupturing of the maternal membranes.

Because a caput hematoma can be caused by or accompanied by more serious conditions, a more thorough examination may be necessary to rule out other issues such a skull fracture or substantial bleeding, which can lead to more serious complications.

What is the treatment for caput succedaneum?

There is usually no need for treatment because caput succedaneum fixes itself within a few days. Attempts to drain the scalp area, for example, may aggravate the problem by causing infections. If a more serious problem, like as jaundice, develops, your baby will need extra care to avoid long-term injury. Light therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin, and exchange transfusion are some of the treatments for jaundice.

What is a cephalohematoma?

Cephalohematoma is similar to caput succedaneum in that both are birth injuries that cause swelling in the baby’s head. It’s a medical term for a diagnosis. As a result, there is no reliable test for cephalohematoma.

Cephalohematoma is characterized by a hemorrhage (accumulation) of blood beneath the baby’s scalp and above the baby’s skull. Fortunately, because the blood collects above the skull, it rarely poses a threat to brain cells because the blood does not apply pressure on the brain.

A subgaleal hematoma is characterized by blood accumulating above the periosteum (the membrane covering the exterior of bones) just beneath the scalp, whereas a cephalohematoma is characterized by blood accumulating beneath the periosteum. But that’s where the parallels end. A bleed that causes a birth damage or death is a serious danger with subgaleal hemorrhages and hematomas.

Causes of Cephalohematoma

Blood vessels rupture as a result of pressure on the baby’s skull during the childbirth process. The following factors can produce cephalohematoma by increasing pressure on a baby’s head:


  • Forceps are used to deliver the baby.
  • Vacuum extraction is used for delivery.
  • Long hours of work
  • Macrosomia fetus (a baby who is much larger than average)
  • uterine contractions that aren’t too strong
  • Position of the fetus is abnormal.
  • Several fetuses

Cephalohematoma Symptoms

Cephalohematoma usually has no evident symptoms, thus it’s important to rule it out if the newborn has any of the following:

  • Bruising on the newborn baby’s skull
  • Low red blood cell counts, often known as anemia, are a condition in which the body’s red
  • Jaundice i(yellowing of the skin)
  • An infection

Cephalohematoma can potentially lead to the establishment of a leptomeningeal cyst if it is associated with a more serious ailment, such as a skull fracture.

Although cephalohematoma is usually not a serious condition, it is possible that your kid could endure developmental delays, motor skill impairments, and the condition will not resolve if these other conditions originate from or accompany it. Long-term dangers include the development of cerebral palsy in more severe cases. As a result, even though this is normally a mild ailment, your child needs to be recognized and treated for this problem as soon as possible.

You May Read.  Tummy tucks recovery week by week

How is cephalohematoma diagnosed?

A physical examination of your child will be performed by a physician in order to diagnose this disease. Although the look of the bulge alone may be enough to determine a diagnosis, your doctor may order additional tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, or ultrasound to rule out any other issues. Further examination is necessary to assure your child’s safety since cephalohematoma can suggest a birth trauma that has caused additional injuries to the skull or brain—especially in cases when your child was born prematurely or with complications.

What is the treatment for cephalohematoma?

In most cases, your child’s bump will go away on its own after three months. Unless there are any new difficulties, doctors will not need to administer any therapy. The doctor may advise emptying the blood that has gathered. This isn’t typically a good idea. Draining can cause complications such as infections and/or abscess formation. Additional therapy, such as a blood transfusion, may be required if the disorder causes a drop in your baby’s red blood cell count (anemia). Light therapy, intravenous immunoglobulin, or an exchange transfusion may be administered if the disorder causes jaundice (skin yellowing).

If the disease does not improve within a few months, you should seek medical attention again and determine whether more therapy is required. Although a misshaped head is uncommon, it can typically be corrected with cosmetic surgery.

How long does cephalohematoma last?

A cephalohematoma will most likely persist weeks rather than months. Some uncommon occurrences of cephalohematoma might continue for more than three months, necessitating additional therapy. The issue is that the infant has a bulge on his chest that is packed with pooled blood. If the problem persists, the child’s head will be drained of the blood (which is not a big thing but comes with a risk of infection).


Both cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum involve odd lumps or swelling on the newborn’s head. The fundamental difference is that cephalohematoma refers to lumps formed by bleeding under the head, whereas caput succedaneum refers to lumps caused by scalp enlargement owing to pressure.

While neither cephalohematoma nor caput succedaneum are life-threatening in the great majority of instances, they can cause secondary issues such as jaundice and infections if not treated adequately. Attempting to drain extra fluid from a baby’s scalp, for example, can result in infection, which is why it’s best to let the problem go away on its own.

for more info