What You Should Know About Cephalohematomas

According to statistics, 6 to 8 infants are born with a birth injury out of every 1000 born in the United States. That means that around 1 in every 9,714 infants in the United States are born with birth injuries. Among the ten most common birth injuries encountered in the country is cephalohematoma.

What is Cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma is a blood clot that occurs in the subperiosteal region. It is located in the region between the child’s skull and the periosteum (the membrane that encloses the skull). It does not have any risk to your child’s brain cells. However, it results in excessive pooling of blood from damaged blood vessels that are located between the inner layers of the skin and skull.

What Causes Cephalohematoma?

Any trauma directed to the infant’s head can possibly lead to cephalohematoma. Some examples include:

  • First pregnancies
  • Prolonged delivery – the difficult delivery may be due to several factors, such as when the head of the infant is bigger than the mother’s pelvic opening, or that the baby is bigger than what is expected during its gestational age
  • Multiple births – the mother gave birth to twins, triplets, or more
  • The fetus had an abnormal position before delivery
  • Usage of vacuum extractors or forceps during delivery – assistive delivery tools like forceps and vacuum extractors may increase the risk of other problems such as brain damage. These tools should only be used by experienced medical professionals in a specific situation.

How is Cephalohematoma Diagnosed?

newborn baby girl asleep on a blanket.A cephalohematoma is internal. It is not easy to detect like a laceration, and infants may not show obvious behavioral symptoms. You need to have your baby checked immediately if you see a raised bump on your child’s head. The bump will appear several hours or a day after birth. It is at its most prominent during the 2nd or 3rd day. It feels soft at first, but it gets firmer as time goes by.

The appearance of the bump is often already enough to diagnose cephalohematoma. Some doctors, however, may request to perform a CT scan, X-Ray, ultrasound, or MRI scan to verify.

Are there Complications You May Expect to Occur?

Complications that may arise are only temporary, and they usually disappear as the bulge does. Most infants do not experience long-term complications. You should also not expect to see any kind of developmental delays due to the injury.

Cephalohematoma may increase your child’s risk of jaundice and anemia. If anemia develops, a blood transfusion may be needed, especially if the blood build-up is so excessive.

On the other hand, jaundice is due to the increased bilirubin resulting in the breakdown of blood from the cephalohematoma. The usual treatment to resolve this is light therapy, which is the use of special light to break down bilirubin so that it can pass easily in the urine or stool.

Babies that develop jaundice need to be closely monitored. If this becomes severe and treatment is not done promptly, this may result in hearing loss, cerebral palsy, and other permanent disabilities.

How is Cephalohematoma Treated?

In most cases, your baby will not require treatment if it has cephalohematoma. That’s because most of the injuries that cause this will heal on their own without needing any major medical intervention. You can expect the bump to be gone within a period ranging from several weeks to a few months. Some injuries will need up to 3 months to completely heal.

In rare cases, the doctor may choose to drain the blood that has accumulated. Most of the time, it is not needed because it may increase your child’s risk of infection and abscess. If an abscess occurs, drainage is required, along with antibiotic treatment.

Know More About Michigan Birth Injuries With The Clark Law Office

Cephalohematoma seems frightening on a newborn baby, but it’s typically harmless. However, it might be a sign or precursor to a serious injury that requires immediate attention. Doctors need to act quickly to protect your baby from permanent brain damage, or worse, death.

If you feel that your child was a victim of medical malpractice that led to a birth injury, you can hold the negligent parties responsible. The Clark Law Office is composed of experienced personal injury lawyers that can assist you in this matter. Call us today at (517) 347-6900 or fill out our form, and we do our best to make sure that you get the justice you deserve.


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