Caput succedaneum

Last revised by Ayla Al Kabbani on 18 Dec 2019

Caput succedaneum is a manifestation of birth trauma, and it consists of a subcutaneous serosanguineous fluid collection external to the galea aponeurosis in the newborn's scalp. The fluid collection is extra-periosteal. It may be imaged with ultrasound, CT, or MRI.

Caput succedaneum results from pressure on the presenting part of the skull against the dilating cervix. It extends across the midline and over suture lines and is associated with head molding.

Caput succedaneum does not usually cause any complication and usually resolves over the first few days. Management is expectant. 

Differential diagnosis

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: caput succedaneum (no labels)
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  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: with cephalohematoma and epidural hematoma
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