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Cephalhematoma

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Updated April 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

A cephalhematoma is more commonly found over the parietal bone.

A cephalhematoma is more commonly found over the parietal bone.

Photo © A.D.A.M.
Definition: This is a collection of blood between your baby’s skull bones and a tough thin tissue called the periostium, which surrounds the bone (almost like shrink wrap). Cephalhematoma most commonly occur over the parietal bone and occipital bone. You might notice that your baby has a bump on his or her head. This occurs in 0.2 to 2.5% of all live births, but is more common after a birth with forceps or vacuum extraction or long labor.

Your pediatrician may decide to do nothing or may order an ultrasound or other exam based on the size and findings of the area. This will rule out other complications like a skull fracture. It can take two weeks to three months for the this bump to go down, this happens as the blood slowly reabsorbs back into the body.

Sources:

Fluoria, M, Kreiter, S. The Newborn Examination: Part I. Emergencies and Common Abnormalities Involving the Skin, Head, Neck, Chest, and Respiratory and Cardiovascular Systems. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jan 1;65(1):61-69.

Cephalahematoma. Family Practice Notebook. Accessed 2/2/11 at http://www.fpnotebook.com/nicu/neuro/Cphlhmtm.htm

Also Known As: hematoma, bruise
Alternate Spellings: cephalohematoma
Examples:
My baby had a small cephalhematoma after birth but it went away.
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