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Cephalohematoma: Symptoms and Dangers of a Common Birth Injury

| Apr 17, 2011 | Birth Injuries

A cephalohematoma, or swollen mass on a newborn baby’s head, is caused by a buildup of blood between the baby’s skin and skull during a difficult delivery.

Cephalohematoma in Virginia is often diagnosed with visual symptoms. For example, a typical hematoma:

  • Appears by the second or third day of life;
  • Has a localized swelling with well-marked edges;
  • Does not usually have any unusual skin discoloration;
  • Does not go beyond the suture lines of the baby’s skull;
  • Is commonly located over the parietal bone (back of the skull).

In most cases, the hematoma will be reabsorbed without further consequences within a few months. However, because of the type of birth injury and the baby’s weakened immune system, the site of a cephalohematoma is at an extremely high risk of infection. 

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A study done on twenty-eight newborns with hematomas revealed the following signs of infection:

  • reddening or discoloration of the skin
  • increased size of the hematoma over a few weeks
  • fever
  • fluctuant mass at the swelling site
  • poor appetite
  • irritability

In many of these cases, the hematomas were infected by common staph and E. coli. Three infants developed meningitis, and three more infants died because they could not fight the infections. Don’t risk your child’s health! If you believe your baby suffered as a result of an avoidable injury, contact the trusted Fairfax birth injury lawyers at Shevlin Smith today by calling 703-721-4233.