In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


A cephalohematoma is an accumulation of subperiosteal blood, typically located in the occipital or parietal region of the calvarium (see Image. Cephalohematoma). During the birthing process, shearing forces on the skull and scalp result in the separation of the periosteum from the underlying calvarium, resulting in the subsequent rupture of blood vessels. The bleeding is gradual; therefore, a cephalohematoma is typically not immediately evident at birth. A cephalohematoma instead develops during the following hours or days after birth, with the first one to three days of birth being the most common age of presentation. Because the cephalohematoma is deep in the periosteum, the boundaries are defined by the underlying calvarium. In other words, a cephalohematoma is confined and does not cross the midline or calvarial suture lines.

Cephalohematomas may rarely occur in juveniles or adults following trauma or surgery.

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