Sonographic findings in infants with macrocrania

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1988 Jun;150(6):1359-65. doi: 10.2214/ajr.150.6.1359.


This study compares the sonographic and CT findings in a group of infants with macrocrania and correlates those findings with neurologic outcome to determine the diagnostic accuracy and prognostic value of sonography. Sonographic findings in 255 infants with macrocrania are described. Of the 195 term infants examined, 130 had normal sonograms, 11 (5.6%) had significant abnormalities, and 54 had increased intra- and/or extraaxial fluid spaces. Of the 60 former preterm infants, 33 had normal sonograms, four (6.7%) had significant abnormalities, and 23 had increased fluid spaces or small resolving germinal matrix hemorrhages. The patients with significant abnormalities usually had head circumferences greater than the 95th percentile and had neurologic abnormalities. There was good correlation between sonography and CT in 30 of the 36 patients evaluated by both. In six there was mild discrepancy in the volume of the extraaxial fluid. No significant abnormality was missed by sonography. CT did not contribute any additional information. Neurologic follow-up was available for 202 patients. Nineteen percent of the term infants and 24% of the former preterm infants were abnormal on neurologic follow-up. Most patients with normal sonograms were normal on follow-up. Twelve of the term and four of the preterm infants with normal sonograms were developmentally delayed on follow-up. Increased CSF in the ventricles and/or extraaxial spaces was a common abnormality, but it usually is associated with a normal neurologic outcome and represents "benign macrocrania." We conclude that an infant with an enlarged or enlarging head should have a neurologic examination and head circumference measurement. If the patient has a head circumference greater than the 95th percentile, particularly if there are abnormal neurologic findings, further evaluation is indicated. Sonography is the initial procedure recommended since it accurately evaluates ventricular size, extraaxial fluid, and congenital malformations. If sonography is normal or shows mildly increased fluid spaces, then follow-up head circumference measurement and clinical evaluation will probably suffice. CT is indicated if there is a significant abnormality on sonography that requires further clarification.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Cephalometry
  • Head / diagnostic imaging
  • Head / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography*