Cephalohaematomas are traumatic subperiosteal hematomas of the skull that are usually caused by birth injury. They are bound between the periosteum and cranium, and therefore cannot cross sutures. Being bound by a suture line distinguishes them from subgaleal hematoma, which can cross sutures.

Cephalohematomas occur in 1-2% of live births. The incidence increases with ventouse and forceps extraction and thus more common in primiparous mothers. There may be a greater male predilection 4.

Cephalohaematomas are clinically diagnosed and infrequently imaged. They can be unilateral or bilateral, and appear as subgaleal fluid collections bounded by suture lines. In the setting of craniosynostosis, the blood products are able to traverse the affected suture 5. By 2-3 weeks, they may become peripherally calcified 5. The hematoma usually resolves in 2-3 months.

  • separation of the scalp by subperiosteal hemorrhage of moderate echogenicity 5
  • underlying brain is usually normal 5

Most resolve spontaneously. Cephalohaematomas usually gradually incorporate into the calvaria by ossification.

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Article information

rID: 1078
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Cephalohaematomas
  • Cephalohematomas

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: cephalohaematoma
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  • Case 2: ossified cephalohaematoma
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  • Case 3: calcified
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  • Case 4
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  • Case 5
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  • Townes/oblique
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  • Case 1: on surface rendered 3D
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