Intracranial volume change in childhood

J Neurosurg. 1999 Oct;91(4):610-6. doi: 10.3171/jns.1999.91.4.0610.


Object: The goal of this study was to construct a model of normal changes in intracranial volume occurring throughout childhood from age 7 days to 15 years.

Methods: Using the technique of segmentation on magnetic resonance images obtained in healthy children, intracranial volume was measured and plotted against age.

Conclusions: Intracranial volume in the first few months of life is on average 900 cm3 in males and 600 cm3 in females. By the age of 15 years, it increases up to 1500 cm3 in males and 1300 cm3 in females, increased by factors of 1.6 and 2.1, respectively. By the time the child reaches 2 years of age, intracranial volume has reached 77% (1150 cm3 in males and 1000 cm3 in females) and, by 5 years, 90% (1350 cm3 in males and 1200 cm3 in females) of the volume observed at age 15 years. The change in intracranial volume that occurs with age is not linear, but there seems to be a segmental pattern. Three main periods can be distinguished, each lasting approximately 5 years (0-5, 5-10, and 10-15 years), during which the growth of intracranial volume is linear. Throughout childhood, males have higher intracranial volumes than females, with a similar growth pattern.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed