How you treat an infant skull bulge depends on the cause of the bulge. You will need to receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis for the cause of your child’s injury to receive treatment as soon as possible.
The concerns that can cause an infant skull bulge are often related to assisted vaginal deliveries, in which the doctor uses a vacuum device or forceps to help move the baby through the final part of the birth canal. Today, vacuum-assisted deliveries are more common than forceps deliveries. With a vacuum-assisted delivery, the incidence of complications is around 5%, according to Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
These complications may include relatively harmless bruising to the head, or more serious conditions like a skull fracture or traumatic brain injury.
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Potentially Serious Causes of Skull Bulges in Infants
Three of the most concerning reasons why you might see a bulge in your baby’s head include:
- Bulging fontanelle (soft spots).
- Skull fracture.
Bulging Fontanelle Soft Spot
A baby is normally born with two fontanelles. These are soft spots where the bones of the skull have not yet grown together, and they generally feel somewhat firm and slightly concave when gently touched with your fingers. Any time a fontanelle seems overly tense, too soft, or bulging, it may indicate a problem.
Since there is no bone in these areas, it can indicate an issue with the brain. Too much fluid in the brain or brain swelling may cause an increase in intracranial pressure. Without treatment, the baby could suffer a brain injury.
Skull fractures may occur as the result of a traumatic accident before birth, complications during delivery, or because of an incident following delivery. While some skull fractures only affect the bone, they have the potential to cause a traumatic brain injury. If your child suffered a skull fracture, it is important that the doctor determines the type of fracture and whether there is brain involvement.
Craniosynostosis is not a birth injury. Instead, it is a congenital medical condition that causes the parts of the baby’s skull to grow together before their brain finishes growing. This can cause bulging ridges along the seams where the bones meet. If this is not diagnosed early, the baby may suffer additional consequences until surgery can treat the condition.
There are also many other injuries to an infant’s head that can occur and create a bulge. Most are relatively minor and may require only observation or minor treatment.
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Finding Out What Caused Your Child’s Skull Bulge
Treating an infant skull bulge requires you to first get an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, this will only require a physical exam. The doctor will look closely at the bulge and feel the baby’s head, pressing gently to feel for swelling, bleeding under the skin, or other concerns. They will likely feel the baby’s fontanelles and look for any other unusual signs or symptoms.
If the doctor suspects something serious, they may request medical imaging. This could include X-rays, and a computed tomography (CT) scan, which allow them to visualize the skull and brain to determine if there are fractures or injuries present. In some cases, invasive treatment may be necessary to repair a fractured skull or reduce injuries related to brain swelling.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice and Infant Head Injuries
If your baby suffered a birth injury that resulted in a skull bulge, the injury and diagnosis may support a medical malpractice case. To learn more, you should consider discussing the case in-depth with an attorney who practices medical malpractice law in your state. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group offers free evaluations and can provide you with more information about your potential case against the doctor or hospital.
An attorney from our firm may be able to help you navigate the legal system according to the rules in your state, which includes meeting all applicable deadlines and enlisting the help of medical expert witnesses as required. If we represent you in your case, we will work to assign liability for the medical negligence, file the necessary paperwork, and secure a settlement if possible. We may also represent you in court if necessary.
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group will review your child’s potential birth injury case today at no cost to your family. To get help today, dial (800) 222-9529.