Increased Head Circumference

Also known as: macrocephaly

What is increased head circumference?

If the distance around a child’s head is larger than expected based on his or her age, this is known as increased head circumference. It’s sometimes referred to medically as macrocephaly.

What might cause increased head circumference?

If the head circumference is slightly larger than expected in an infant, it may not be a cause of concern on its own. However, increased head circumference in an infant may be a sign of:
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Bleeding inside the skull
  • Genetic conditions
  • Brain tumors
  • Some types of infections

How can it be treated?

If a child has increased head circumference and it is determined to be benign, no action is typically needed.

When should you seek medical attention?

Doctors will typically detect increased head circumference when a child is born and monitor him or her carefully for related symptoms or medical conditions.  If the head circumference is larger or increases at a rate is that is not typical, a child will be referred to specialist for further evaluation.

Reviewed by: Katherine Schain, M.S., CGC

This page was last updated on: March 12, 2020 04:26 PM

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