Macrocephaly

Also known as: big head, increased head circumference

What is macrocephaly?

When a child has a head circumference that is larger than normal (for the infant's gestational age, age, sex and race), the medical term is macrocephaly. Most often these children may have an accelerated growth in the first few months after delivery and often have a family history of macrocephaly. The head circumference stabilizes at 18-24 months. Other serious causes of a large head should be excluded.
 

What causes macrocephaly?

There are a large number of conditions that give rise to megacephaly. Some occur as a part of another medical condition. In other infants/children, it is part of a disorder inherited from family members. Not infrequently no cause can be found.
 

What are the signs/ symptoms of macrocephaly?

Parents need to watch for a bulging soft spot on the top of the head (fontanel), vomiting, poor feeding, abnormal eye or limb movements, irritability or sleepiness and poor mental development (some are signs of increased pressure in the head).
 

What are macrocephaly care options?

Children with benign macrocephaly won't need any treatment. For all the other many different conditions that can cause macrocephaly medical management will vary. Help with managing specific symptoms is available as is surgery when indicated.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 1:57:11 PM

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