Definition of Caput succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is swelling of the scalp in a newborn. It is most often brought on by pressure from the uterus or vaginal wall during a head-first (vertex) delivery.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A caput succedaneum is more likely to form during a prolonged or difficult delivery. This is especially true after the membranes have ruptured, because the amniotic sac is no longer providing a protective cushion for the baby’s head. Vacuum extraction can also increase the chances of a caput succedaneum.
Signs and tests
A physical examination will confirm that the swelling is a caput succedaneum. No testing is necessary.
No treatment is necessary, and it usually heals spontaneously within a few days.
Complete recovery can be expected, with the scalp regaining its normal contour.
Daniel Rauch, MD, FAAP. Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 5/11/2009