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Published: June 14, 2023

The Role of Physical Therapy in Cephalohematoma Rehabilitation

Medically Written by:
Tatiana Sikorskyj, APN, RNFA
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Updated On: 18 Oct 2023

Cephalohematoma is characterized by the accumulation of blood beneath the periosteum of the skull in newborns. While it typically resolves independently, some cases require treatment and rehabilitation to ensure proper healing and development. In this blog, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of cephalohematoma and delve into the crucial role of physical therapy in its rehabilitation. By implementing specific physical therapy approaches, collaborative care, and supporting parents and caregivers, we can optimize the recovery process for infants affected by this condition.

Cephalohematoma: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

Cephalohematoma commonly occurs during vaginal delivery when the blood vessels between the skull and the periosteum are damaged or ruptured. This condition presents as a raised, often well-defined swelling on the baby's head, typically appearing hours or days after birth. A thorough medical examination can diagnose a cephalohematoma. At times a skull xray or ultrasound may be ordered to diagnose a cephalohematoma.

Importance of Rehabilitation in Cephalohematoma

Rehabilitation plays a vital role in cephalohematoma treatment to aid in the resolution of the hematoma, prevent complications, and promote optimal cranial growth and development. Physical therapy is critical to this rehabilitation process, facilitating healing and improving long-term outcomes for infants affected by cephalohematoma.

Checkout our blog - 5 Symptoms That Suggest You Should See a Pediatric Neurologist

Role of Physical Therapy in Cephalohematoma Rehabilitation

Physical therapy offers a range of techniques and approaches tailored to address the specific needs of infants with cephalohematoma. Some of the most effective physical therapy interventions include:

  1. Range of Motion Exercises: Range of motion exercises are essential to maintain joint mobility and prevent contractures in affected areas. Skilled physical therapists guide infants through gentle, controlled movements to ensure optimal flexibility and avoid stiffness.
  2. Therapeutic Ultrasound: Therapeutic ultrasound involves using high-frequency sound waves to penetrate deep tissues, promoting blood flow and accelerating the healing process. This non-invasive treatment option can effectively aid in the reduction of inflammation and promote tissue regeneration.
  3. Soft Tissue Mobilization: Soft tissue mobilization techniques, such as massage and gentle stretching, are employed to improve blood circulation, alleviate muscular tension, and enhance overall tissue health in the affected area. This approach can facilitate the reabsorption of the hematoma and support the healing process.
  4. Craniosacral Therapy: Craniosacral therapy is a gentle manual technique that relieves tensions and imbalances within the craniosacral system. By applying light pressure and subtle movements, this therapy promotes the natural healing process, improves cerebral spinal fluid circulation, and aids in resolving the hematoma.

Collaborative Care in Cephalohematoma Rehabilitation:

Successful rehabilitation of cephalohematoma requires a collaborative approach involving various healthcare professionals, including pediatricians, physical therapists, orthopedic surgery specialists and neurosurgery specialists. This interdisciplinary cooperation ensures comprehensive care, addressing the multifaceted needs of infants and promoting their overall well-being.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers to Support Cephalohematoma

  1. Follow medical advice: Adhere to the treatment plan prescribed by healthcare professionals.
  2. Provide a safe environment: Take precautions to prevent further trauma to the affected area.
  3. Gentle handling: Handle the baby's head carefully and avoid applying pressure to the hematoma.
  4. Regular follow-ups: Attend scheduled appointments and follow-up evaluations to monitor progress.
  5. Seek emotional support: Reach out to support groups or healthcare providers for guidance and emotional support during rehabilitation.


Cephalohematoma treatment involves a multifaceted approach, with physical therapy playing a pivotal role in rehabilitation. Cephalohematoma treatment necessitates a comprehensive course in which physical therapy, spearheaded by experts like NJPNI, plays a crucial role in repair. NJPNI and their team of physical therapists make significant contributions to resolving cephalohematoma and promoting optimal healing and development by employing techniques such as craniosacral therapy, range of motion exercises, therapeutic ultrasound, and soft tissue mobilization. By embracing collaborative care, parents and caregivers can effectively support their infants throughout their recovery. With NJPNI's expertise, early intervention, and active rehabilitation, we can ensure the best possible outcomes for infants impacted by cephalohematoma.

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NOTICE: This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for a patient/physician relationship.

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