Caput Succedaneum – Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Caput Succedaneum – Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

26 Jul 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 607 Articles

Caput succedaneum is a medical condition in newborns wherein the infant’s scalp swells soon after birth. Such a condition forms after a difficult delivery, mostly due to the pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first (vertex) delivery. The doctor might also check for any signs of brain injury as it can also cause oxygen deprivation to the brain.

The caput succedaneum usually disappears within a few days. However, if it involves bruising, the newborn might develop jaundice and if it is left untreated, it might also have a “halo scalp ring” pattern of alopecia (baldness) or even infection. 

Read on to know about caput succedaneum causes and more.

caput succedaneum treatment
Prolonged labour can also make the baby’s skull swell as the infant’s head has been compressed or pushed. | Image Source: freepik

Causes Of Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is more likely to develop in deliveries with some of these complications:

  • Premature rupture of membranes (PROM)
  • Insufficient amniotic fluid(Oligohydramnios)
  • BH (Braxton Hicks) contractions
  • Surgical instruments or suction lifters

Apart from the increasing pressure on the baby’s head during delivery, some other reasons might cause caput succedaneum:

  • Bodily fluid: The newborn might get the skull swollen as a buildup of bodily fluid within their skull and the protecting membranes that protect their skull bones.
  • Labour during childbirth: Prolonged labour can also make the baby’s skull swell as the infant’s head has been compressed or pushed.
  • Excessive pressure during birth: As you go into labour, the cervical and uterine canal continue to press your baby even after having your cervical and uterine canal elongated and after birth, this might result in swelling of the skull.
  • Insufficient amniotic fluid: The infant’s scalp might expand more than usual depending on how quickly the amniotic sac ruptures after birth.

Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum In Babies

If your infant has caput succedaneum, you will notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Puffiness: A puffed area beneath your infant’s skull with the majority of the same concentrating on the portion of their skull can be a sign of caput succedaneum.

This happens when the baby comes out of the vaginal canal first or when restricted to one side of the head.

  • Pointed skull: Another sign of caput succedaneum is the infant’s pointed head. It will have a somewhat sharp form.

Diagnosis of Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum can be identified on physical examination. If there lies a concerning issue, doctors might recommend further tests to evaluate for a more serious problem.

In some cases of cephalohematoma, a skull fracture might also be present. Therefore, an X-ray might be carried out to assess the bones of the skull.

Caput succedaneum due to a ruptured amniotic sac in pregnancy might be detected during an ultrasound scan. | Image Source: pexels

Treatment for Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum generally resolves without the need for intervention within two to six weeks after delivery.

There can be cases in which a caput succedaneum causes an infection, which might require medications and surgical procedures. Sometimes, it might persist and harden and cause a firm bump, which most often resolves over time.

Cranial-moulding helmet therapy is another possible therapy and this method involves an infant wearing a specially shaped helmet for 18 to 20 hours a day until the head is moulded to the desired shape.

Caput succedaneum due to a ruptured amniotic sac in pregnancy might be detected during an ultrasound scan. Such a condition will likely heal quickly. However, if it doesn’t, your child might be suffering from a more serious birth injury.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of the information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here



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