Caput succedaneum is swelling of the scalp in a newborn. It is most often brought on by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first (vertex) delivery.
A caput succedaneum is more likely to form during a long or hard delivery. It is more common after the membranes have broken. This is because the fluid in the amniotic sac is no longer providing a cushion for the baby's head. Vacuum extraction done during a difficult birth can also increase the chances of a caput succedaneum.
A caput succedaneum may be detected by prenatal ultrasound, even before labor or delivery begins. It has been found as early as 31 weeks of pregnancy. Very often, this is due to an early rupture of the membranes or too little amniotic fluid. It is less likely that a caput will form if the membranes stay intact.
Symptoms may include:
No treatment is needed. The problem most often goes away on its own within a few days.
Torbjorn Eggebo is in Trondheim, Norway. Eggebo is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Caput Succedaneum. They are also highly rated in 2 other conditions, according to our data. Their top areas of expertise are Caput Succedaneum, Urachal Cyst, Macrosomia, and Small for Gestational Age.
Antonio Malvasi is in Bari, Italy. Malvasi is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Caput Succedaneum. He is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Caput Succedaneum, Uterine Fibroids, Hysterectomy, and Ectopic Pregnancy.
Christoph Lees is in London, United Kingdom. Lees is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Caput Succedaneum. He is also highly rated in 6 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Intrauterine Growth Restriction, Caput Succedaneum, Small for Gestational Age, and Preeclampsia.
Complete recovery can be expected. The scalp will go back to a normal shape.
Complications may include a yellow color to the skin (jaundice) if bruising is involved.
Most of the time, the problem is noticed right after birth. You do not need to call your provider unless you have other questions.
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Published Date: April 14, 2021
Published By: Charles I. Schwartz, MD, FAAP, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, General Pediatrician at PennCare for Kids, Phoenixville, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Balest AL, Riley MM, Bogen DL. Neonatology. In: Zitelli BJ, McIntire SC, Nowalk AJ, eds. Zitelli and Davis' Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 2.
Prazad PA, Rajpal MN, Mangurten HH, Puppala BI. Birth injuries. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 29.