If your newborn has a cone-shaped head or swelling beneath his or her scalp, doctors may have given you a hard-to-understand diagnosis: caput succedaneum. According to Stanford Medicine, this medical term, which is Latin, simply means your infant has localized swelling of his or her head.
Caput succedaneum is exceedingly common in newborns, as their heads can suffer trauma when moving through the birth canal. If your doctor uses vacuum technology during your delivery, your baby may have an increased chance of developing the condition. Is caput succedaneum as harmless as your doctor says, though?
You probably have nothing to worry about
You should not needlessly alarm yourself over your child’s caput succedaneum diagnosis. After all, with the vast majority of infants, the condition resolves on its own without medical intervention. Nevertheless, your pediatrician should closely monitor your newborn to ensure he or she does not end up with potentially catastrophic complications.
While rare, complications can be serious
The most common complication from caput succedaneum is jaundice. Jaundice happens when an infant has too much bilirubin in his or her system. Bilirubin often rises when newborns develop bruises, which frequently go hand-in-hand with caput succedaneum. If doctors do not take steps to treat jaundice immediately, it can lead to a life-threatening condition.
In extreme cases, caput succedaneum also can cause scars to develop. Your newborn even may have to deal with paralysis and other nerve-related complications. Therefore, it is critical for you to take caput succedaneum seriously.
Ultimately, if your child’s caput succedaneum ends up being not as minor as your doctor says, you may have grounds to seek significant financial compensation.