Cephalohematoma Complications and Treatment

Having a new child in the home is exciting for parents and siblings. However, when a child is born with a birth-related injury, the parents are rightfully concerned and often wonder if the injury could have been prevented. One of the potential birth injuries newborns suffer is called “cephalohematoma” and is defined by Stanford Medicine as “…a collection of blood under the periosteum of a skull bone. Because of its location, it is impossible for cephalohematoma to cross suture lines. If more than one bone is affected, there will be a separation between the two areas at the suture line as seen in this photo — the sagittal suture separates the bilateral parietal cephalohematomas. On palpation, these areas feel fluctuent.”

Cephalohematoma Newborn Risk

Cephalohematoma is most commonly found in first-born infants. Some of the potential risk factors include:

  • Forced deliveries – when a doctor must use forceps or vacuum devices to help a child through the birth canal, there may be head trauma
  • Long labor – mothers who are in labor for long periods of time may have an infant with cephalohematoma
  • Oversized babies – birthing a child larger than 9 pounds increases the potential for cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma Symptoms

Generally, the symptoms are fairly mild when a child has a cephalohematoma, as a rule, the parents may notice a slight swelling in their infant’s scalp. Typically, the swelling will go away on its own, but in some cases, it does not go away and can lead to more serious health problems.  Infections, pain and other issues should be reviewed immediately by your baby’s health care professional.

Cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma Treatment

Typically, health care professionals will not do anything to treat this type of birth injury unless it appears the infant is suffering additional problems such as jaundice, low blood counts or other problems. As a rule, this condition will rectify itself within a few months and if it does not, parents should seek a consultation with a qualified medical professional.

Cephalohematoma Complications

By some estimates, between 0.2% – 2.5% of live births result in a cephalohematoma and no treatment is necessary in the majority of cases. However, when a doctor has deliberately ignored warning signs that an infant could be at risk, parents may have the grounds to file a suit for the injury the infant has suffered, particularly in those cases where the baby has suffered other injuries such as a fractured skull, jaundice or other side-effects.

Parents who have an infant born with this birth injury should speak with an attorney who understands the personal injury statutes to determine whether or not they have case for negligence. When a mother is in labor for a prolonged period of time or the need for a forced delivery become evident, there may have been other options that could have prevented this type of birth injury.

When your Child has Cephalohematoma

Regardless of how minor it may appear at first, there are potentially serious consequences of this type of birth injury. Some infants may require additional treatment under colored lights to break up bilirubin in their liver which can cause jaundice and in some cases, the cephalohematoma could have such a serious healthy impact the infant may require a blood transfusion. Parents should carefully monitor their infants behavior as well as the swelling and watch for changes that could indicate a more serious problem.

If you believe your child suffered a birth injury that could have been prevented, it is important to seek competent legal advice. In some cases, these types of injuries simply happen but in others, they occur as a direct result of medical negligence. Your infant should not have to suffer because a doctor did not follow appropriate medical procedures and minimize the potential risks for you or your infant.

If you are a parent of a child who is suffering a cephalohematoma, consider contacting the birth injury attorneys at Davis Levin Livingston by calling (866) 806-4349 for a  free consultation. We will be happy to review your case and determine what potential actions you may be able to take to recover financially from the additional costs of treating this birth injury.