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Can Cephalohematoma Lead to Brain Damage?


Childbirth is an unforgettable event for any parent, marking the start of a new chapter in their lives. It is a moment filled with immense joy and anticipation. However, there are cases when complications arise that can be daunting for both the parent and the newborn. Cephalohematoma is one such complication that can occur during childbirth.

What Is Cephalohematoma?

Cephalohematoma is a condition that can occur in newborns when blood collects between the infant's scalp and skull. This happens when pressure on the baby's head causes blood vessels in the scalp to rupture. The blood then pools beneath the scalp, creating a soft bump that will eventually harden.

The condition is usually harmless and will resolve on its own over time. The healing process can range from a few weeks to a few months. During this time, the lump will have a ring or crater-like appearance as it shrinks in the center. In some cases, cephalohematoma can lead to other conditions. Therefore, it's important to check with a pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Cephalohematoma Causes

Birth trauma to an infant's head can cause cephalohematoma. Such injuries sustained during delivery can result from various factors, including a difficult labor that puts excessive pressure on the baby's head.

Cephalohematoma causes may include:

  • Assistive delivery. Sometimes forceps and vacuum deliveries are used to speed up a difficult birth. However, this can put a significant amount of pressure on a baby’s head, leading to cephalohematoma.
  • Infant size. Larger babies that are 8 lbs. and 13 oz. or more may have difficulty moving out the birth canal. This can put compression and pressure on a child’s head.
  • Medical negligence. Doctors are trained to safely deliver babies. However, preventable mistakes can occur during delivery such as misuse of vacuum extractors, failure to monitor the infant, and more.

Cephalohematoma Symptoms

If you suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury, it is crucial to know the symptoms of cephalohematoma. These symptoms range in severity and can vary from one case to another, making it important to seek medical advice if you suspect any of them. Some babies may display signs of cephalohematoma right away, while others may take days or even weeks to show any symptoms.

Cephalohematoma symptoms include:

  • Difficulty feeding
  • Head swelling
  • High-pitched crying
  • Fatigue
  • Large head
  • Seizures
  • Soft spots on head
  • Vomiting
  • Dark spot on the baby’s head

If you notice any of these signs, be sure to consult your pediatrician for proper diagnosis and treatment. While a dark spot or bruise on the baby’s head may be a normal bruise and not cephalohematoma, receiving a proper inspection by a pediatrician is highly recommended.

A pediatrician can conduct blood tests, imaging scans, and a physical examination to determine if your child has cephalohematoma. Getting a diagnosis can help your child receive treatment to prevent complications.

What Conditions Can Cephalohematoma Lead To?

While cephalohematoma will generally heal on its own, the condition can sometimes lead to other complications in infants.

Cephalohematoma can lead to the following conditions:

  • Anemia. Cephalohematoma takes blood away from a baby’s circulatory system and can lead to anemia, a condition where a body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry enough oxygen to the body’s tissues. In most cases, a larger cephalohematoma is more likely to cause anemia.
  • Calcifications. If the cephalohematoma remains for more than five weeks, it may form calcifications (hardened bone deposits) that can adversely affect skull formation in babies. This issue requires corrective surgery to remove calcification and restore proper skull growth.
  • Infections. In rare cases, cephalohematoma may lead to infections involving an infant’s immune system, bones, and skin.
  • Jaundice. As the body absorbs the blood from the cephalohematoma, bilirubin levels can rise, causing the skin and eyes to become yellowish.
  • Skull fractures. In some cases, babies may also have a linear skull fracture. However, this type of bone fracture can heal over time without treatment.

While cephalohematoma may not lead to brain damage, it can lead to the conditions described above.

Contact Our Birth Injury Attorneys

If your child has suffered cephalohematoma due to medical malpractice, you need experienced attorneys who can represent you. At Rash Mueller, our team has been helping families pursue the compensation they deserve for decades.

We understand the emotional and financial toll birth injuries can take on a family, and our compassionate attorneys are ready to support you every step of the way. Our experience in medical malpractice cases means that we have a thorough understanding of the laws and regulations surrounding these cases. We will work tirelessly to pursue the financial support your family needs to move forward after this experience.

Don't wait to start seeking justice for your child - contact Rash Mueller today at (954) 914-7116 or contact us online.