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Published: August 19, 2022

What is a cephalohematoma?

Medically Reviewed by:
Dr. Tatiana Sikorskyj, APN, RNFA
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Updated On: 20 Nov 2023

Cephalohematoma is a condition in which a newborn baby develops swelling or a bump on their head due to a collection of blood between their skull and the periosteum. It is usually found on the scalp and is a result of trauma during childbirth that can cause a collection of blood to form between the bone and the soft tissues of the skin. Cephalohematoma is usually a benign condition and does not cause any harm to the baby.

What Are the Symptoms of Cephalohematoma?

The most common symptom is a raised, hard lump on the newborn’s head. The lump is usually localized to one area and is typically firm and round in shape. It is usually found on the scalp and can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters. The lump is usually painless and can stay the same size for several weeks. It may also become larger or smaller over time and may even disappear without treatment. 

Risk and Effects of Cephalohematoma

Although cephalohematoma is usually a benign and harmless condition, there are some risks and potential complications that can occur. These include anemia, jaundice, infection, bleeding, and skull fractures. In rare cases, the condition can lead to intracranial bleeding or even death. There is also a risk of calcification, which is when the blood clot becomes hardened and cephalohematoma causes permanent deformity of the skull.

Baby's Cephalohematoma: Early Detection and treatment

Most cases of cephalohematoma do not require treatment and may resolve on their own.We do recommend massaging the cephalohematoma and applying warm compresses to help the cephalohematoma dissolve.  In rare cases, surgery may be needed to remove the clot. 

Uncovering the Causes of Cephalohematoma

Cephalohematoma can be caused by trauma during childbirth. This can happen when the baby’s head is pulled, pushed, or squeezed too hard during delivery. In some cases, the use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery can also cause cephalohematoma. It is also possible for cephalohematoma to develop due to trauma during a Cesarean section. Cephalohematoma can also occur from trauma, such as a fall off a bed or couch.

How Common is Calcified Cephalohematoma? Will calcified cephalohematoma go away?

Calcified cephalohematoma is a rare condition and is estimated to occur in only 1-2% of all cephalohematomas. It occurs when the clot becomes calcified, or hardened, and can cause permanent deformity of the skull. It is important to seek medical attention if there is any suspicion of calcified cephalohematoma. To prevent the cephalohematoma from hardening, it is recommended to massage the cephalohematoma and to apply warm compresses.


Cephalohematoma is a common condition that is usually benign and harmless. Most cases do not require any Cephalohematoma treatment and will resolve on their own. However, if there are any symptoms of infection or if the lump is causing discomfort, it is important to seek medical attention. If you are concerned about cephalohematoma or any other condition of the head or neck, it is important to seek the advice of a specialist. The New Jersey Pediatric Neuroscience Institute is a renowned center for pediatric neuroscience that is staffed with board-certified specialists who can provide expert advice and treatment options.


  • Will calcified cephalohematoma go away

Yes, calcified cephalohematoma usually resolves on its own. Massaging the cephalohematoma multiple times an hour can help it resolve faster.

  • What is the difference between cephalohematoma and caput succedaneum?

Cephalohematoma is a collection of blood between the skull and the membrane, while caput succedaneum is swelling of the scalp.

  • How long does it take for cephalohematoma to go down?

It typically takes several weeks to a few months for a cephalohematoma to go down, but in some cases, it may take longer.

  • Does cephalohematoma need treatment?

Most cephalohematomas resolve on their own within a few weeks to months. Treatment is usually not necessary unless the cephalohematoma calcifies.

  • When should I worry about cephalohematoma?

Cephalohematoma is a common birth injury, but if it persists beyond a few weeks, becomes larger, or shows signs of infection, seek medical attention.

  • What is the complication of cephalohematoma?

Cephalohematoma is a collection of blood under the scalp that can lead to jaundice, anemia, infection, and increased risk of developing a skull deformity.

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