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Increased head circumference
DefinitionIncreased head circumference is present when the measured distance around the widest part of the skull is larger than expected for the age and background of the child.
ConsiderationsAs a rule of thumb, a newborn's head is usually about 2 centimeters larger than the chest size. Between 6 months and 2 years, both measurements are about equal. After 2 years, the chest size becomes larger than the head.
A series of measurements over time that show an increased rate of head growth often can provide more valuable information than a single measurement that is larger than expected.
Increased intracranial pressure (pressure within the head, usually caused by swelling of the brain or accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within ventricles) often accompanies increased head circumference. Symptoms associated with this include vomiting, eyes deviating downward, and irritability.
See also bulging fontanelles .
Call your health care provider ifMacrocephaly is usually discovered by the health care provider during a routine well-baby exam.
The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.
Medical history questions documenting increased head circumference in detail may include:
Diagnostic tests may vary depending on the suspected cause, but often include:
If a diagnosis was made by your health care provider of cause of increased head circumference, you may want to note that diagnosis in your personal medical record. You may also want to document your own measurements of the head circumference.
Update Date: 11/10/2003John Goldenring, M.D., MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT