An infant skull bulge is serious in some instances. It depends on the underlying cause of the bulge and whether or not it may involve a brain injury that could lead to other life-threatening complications. Since it is possible for a bulge on an infant’s head to indicate a serious injury or condition that requires prompt attention and treatment, you should speak to a doctor about any concerns you have with the shape of your baby’s head.
In some cases, a baby’s head can have a bulge or appear misshapen immediately following birth. This is likely if a doctor delivered the baby via assisted vaginal delivery, using a vacuum device or forceps. Assisted delivery with these tools can increase the risk of some types of birth injuries. You and a physician should monitor your child closely for any concerns.
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Causes of Infant Skull Bulges
In most cases, an area of your baby’s head may appear to bulge following birth due to relatively minor injuries that occurred during the delivery.
When blood vessels just under the skin become broken because of the natural pressures of labor, a complication, or the techniques used during assisted vaginal delivery, it can cause a cephalohematoma. This refers to the collection of blood that gathers between the scalp and skull. Since this injury occurs outside of the skull, it does not necessarily affect the brain.
Cephalohematoma is not rare. In fact, it occurs in anywhere from 0.4% to 2.5% of births, according to a study from StatPearls Publishing. Some factors may put babies at an increased risk of cephalohematoma, such as when:
- It is the mother’s first vaginal delivery.
- The baby is larger than average, usually more than 4 kg.
- The baby is in an unusual position when it is time for delivery.
- The doctor uses an instrument to assist with the delivery.
Even though most causes of a bulge in your baby’s skull are not serious, some can indicate brain injury or another serious concern. This could include bulging fontanelle and skull fracture.
Your baby’s soft spots should feel somewhat firm and curve slightly inward. They should not bulge out or appear swollen. If they do, it may be a sign of excess fluid in the brain or brain swelling. Both of these conditions may be dangerous and require immediate medical attention.
In some cases, a baby may experience a skull fracture during delivery, or due to trauma before or after delivery. This can further lead to a traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or other related conditions.
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Identifying and Treating the Cause of Your Baby’s Skull Bulge
The only way to know for sure if an infant skull bulge is serious is to see a trusted doctor and allow them to determine the cause of the bulge. A prompt and accurate diagnosis is the only way to help your baby get the best care possible if the injury is serious. You should request an examination as soon as you notice the bulging.
A doctor will likely perform a visual and physical exam of your baby, feeling the head to check for bruising or other signs of cephalohematoma. If they cannot confirm a diagnosis at this point, they may order imaging tests such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, or other tests to get a better look at the baby’s skull and brain. Only once the doctor knows what is causing the unusual bulge can treatment begin.
Infant Head Trauma and Birth Injury Medical Malpractice
In some cases, the cause of your baby’s skull bulge may be a preventable birth injury. If your infant suffered an injury because of medical negligence, you may be able to hold the doctor or hospital liable for failing to provide an appropriate standard of care. Your attorney may be able to build a case for you and seek compensation to help with your child’s current and ongoing medical care.
To learn more, speak with a medical malpractice lawyer who takes on birth injury cases in your state. A lawyer can help you to determine:
- The merits of your case.
- The time limits for filing a lawsuit.
- The identity of the liable party or parties.
- The necessary qualifications of the medical expert who will testify on your behalf.
- The steps you will need to take to navigate the legal system.
- Your family’s related expenses and losses.
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Talk with a Member of Our Team About Your Child’s Injuries
If you are ready to get help with your medical malpractice case today, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. A member of our team is standing by now to review your case and help you understand the next steps in pursuing a medical malpractice case.