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Infants with a caput succedaneum have a “cone-head” appearance. That is what happens after a difficult birth. Although it stays for a while and may alarm new parents, it usually clears up in a few days. However, if treatment is delayed, caput in infants may lead to more severe problems. They may also develop alopecia (baldness) or infections from a “halo scalp ring.”
What Is Caput Succedaneum?
The term Caput Succedaneum refers to the swelling on the head in babies. One of the most common causes of head-first (vertex) birth is tension from the uterine or cervical wall, which causes the condition.
What Causes Caput Succedaneum?
A caput succedaneum is much more likely to develop in births with the following complications:
- Membrane rupture occurs prematurely (PROM)
- Oligohydramnios is a type of oligohydramnios (insufficient amniotic fluid)
- Surgical instruments or suction lifters
- BH (Braxton Hicks) contractions
- A primiparous mother (first time giving birth)
Increasing pressure on the newborn’s head may result in edema and bruises. Some other causes include:
- Bodily fluid – The newborn’s Caput Succedaneum is caused by a buildup of bodily fluid within their skull and the protecting membranes that protect their skull bones. Specifically, the periosteum seems to be the term used to describe this layer of membranes.
- Labor during childbirth – This is a delicate situation for your child. When they are hurt, it doesn’t take much for them to swell up. A case of caput succedaneum happens with swelling of the scalp during labor once your baby’s head has just been compressed or pushed abnormally. It’s most prevalent throughout the workday.
- Excessive pressure during birth – When you go into labor, the newborn is placed under a great deal of stress. The cervical and uterine canal continue to press your baby even after having your cervical and uterine canal enlarged. Once they are born, this may result in swelling. Having labor and deliveries that take a long time or involve clamps or vacuum suctions equipment may increase the probability of developing edema.
- Insufficient amniotic fluid – Depending on how quickly the amniotic sac ruptures after birth, the newborn’s scalp may expand more than usual. Furthermore, if the kid is in an amniotic sac with insufficient fluid, they may be damaged by the pelvic bones of their mother while still in the mother’s body. This has the potential to induce caput succedaneum ever since your kid is even conceived.
Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum in Babies
A baby head caput succedaneum usually appears shortly after birth. It is a mushy protrusion of the skull, mainly on the side that first entered the baby’s head, but it can affect both sides. It is usually 1-2 cm deep. Contusions or epidermis color swatches are possible. In most instances, a swollen scalp is not a life-threatening situation. A newborn may show the following signs of caput succedaneum:
- Puffiness – A puffed area appears beneath your newborn’s skull, with the majority of the same concentrating on the portion of their skull. It happens when it comes out of the vaginal canal first or when restricted to one side of the head.
- Delicate skin – When you stroke their head, it is so soft that you could accidentally make a tiny dent on it. The skin is generally normal except for some minor bruises all around the swollen region.
- Pointed skull – The child’s head will have a somewhat sharp form.
Complications of Caput Succedaneum
Caput on newborn helps alleviate by itself without difficulty, but a question keeps hovering in many parents’ minds – is caput succedaneum serious? Yes, for sporadic cases, problems may arise from time to time, like:
- Alopecia: Due to compression applied to the head, a few surrounding tissues might disintegrate, resulting in baldness. In just about all instances, hair grows back correctly, but in rare circumstances, baldness is irreversible.
- Hepatitis: Due to increased red blood cells, bilirubin may accumulate in the blood. This causes babies’ complexion and the white of their eyes to appear yellow. Hepatitis, if severe or ignored, may lead to a slew of other problems.
Other complications are:
- Harm to the central nervous system
- A mobility condition called athetoid or severe autism
- Life-long upwards eye-gazing
Caput Succedaneum Diagnosis
It is common for caput succedaneum to be diagnosed on physical assessment alone but without further tests. There’s a more problematic issue. Physicians may suggest additional testing to see whether there is a more severe condition present. In certain instances of cephalohematoma, a fracture of the head may well be present as well. Consequently, an X-ray of the skull might help to assess the head structure.
What Is the Treatment for Caput Succedaneum?
A caput succedaneum is rarely treated; it usually resolves on its own. Nonetheless, the associated bruises may result in increased bilirubin and hepatitis. Hepatitis is also not a significant threat and usually resolves on its own. Hepatitis treatments may include phototherapy, blood transfusions, or addressing underlying causes. Untreated or mismanaged hepatitis can result in keratoconus or severe and irreversible brain damage. Keratoconus can cause Down syndrome, deafness, and other long-term problems. Caput succedaneum helps alleviate on its own within a few days after birth, without any need for invasive procedures.
Since there are no other traumas or comorbidities, a diagnosis usually heals without any need for medical intervention between two to five weeks after giving birth, depending on the circumstances. In certain instances, a cephalohematoma may lead to additional, more severe complications, such as infections, which may necessitate the use of medicines and surgical treatments to resolve. Sometimes even a cephalohematoma might continue and solidify, resulting in a substantial hump that will eventually disappear. This is most commonly the case over time.
Headgear therapy, which uses cranium molding, is yet another therapeutic option. Infants wear uniquely engineered headgear for 18 to 20 hours each day until their heads are sculpted to the appropriate form. Though uncommon, one would require this treatment for a chronic cephalohematoma in the brain.
What Is the Difference Between Cephalohematoma and Caput Succedaneum?
Caput succedaneum and cephalohematoma are two birth injuries that are similar, if not identical. The same causes the newborn child’s head to swell.
Caput succedaneum is a disease similar to cephalohematoma, causing internal bleeding during pregnancy. Caput succedaneum is described as subcutaneous edema across the affected area of the head. A cephalohematoma is a blood clot under the skin’s surface.
Having your child suffer as a consequence of a potential birth injury may be devastating. It is possible that, as a worried parent, you will need to undertake all the required steps to get the correct therapy at the appropriate moment.