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: 6/15/2018 8:04:58 AM


Upcoming Events

Communication and Feeding Difficulties in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

This class is offered to parents and caregivers of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Learn more and register

Epilepsy Exchange

Join us for a Facebook Live event! The webinar will explore epilepsy treatment options including medications, surgeries and therapies, provide advice on how to choose a course of treatment and will include a live Q&A session. Join Patricia Dean, Aileen Marie Rodriguez, Drs. Ian Miller and Marytery Fajardo.

Learn more and register

From the Newsdesk

Get your FREE Water Watcher Card here!
06/29/2018 — Prevent drowning and accidents when children are near water by assigning a responsible adult to wear a Water Watcher Badge. The badge wearer takes responsibility to supervise the children until hading off to the next water watcher. Available at selected urgent care centers while supplies last.
Daniella Celebrates her Ninth Birthday by Advocating for Children’s Health
06/26/2018 — On this very same day nine years ago, Daniella Alvarez was diagnosed Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (ATRT), a rare and aggressive type of brain cancer. The news came on June 26, 2009, her second birthday. Daniella endured years of brain surgeries, aggressive chemotherapies, radiation, imaging scans, multiple visits to intensive care at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. She is now cancer free thanks to a pediatric clinical trial made possible through research funding.

Video

video
Reshma Naidoo, PhD of Nicklaus Children's Hospital is a pediatric neuropsychologist and neurorehabilitation speacialits with the Brain Institute.