What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum?

There are a lot of different things that can cause a baby to suffer an injury during labor or delivery. Often, these conditions or injuries are beyond the control of the physician in charge. Others, however, are devastatingly the result of medical negligence or wrongdoing on the part of a medical professional. Caput succedaneum, for instance, is a condition that can be diagnosed as early as 31 weeks and when left untreated, can have far reaching consequences for children and their parents. To learn more about the types of recovery that a child could qualify for if injured by a physician’s negligence, please call a dedicated Miami birth injury attorney today.

What is Caput Succedaneum?

Caput succedaneum is a type of birth injury, in which the swelling of the scalp causes an infant’s head to appear cone-shaped. This condition is usually the result of an extended delivery or a labor that involved complications. Unfortunately, while this condition is often not life-threatening, it can have serious consequences for children who suffer from it. While there are no specific tests that can detect caput succedaneum, physical symptoms at the time of the child’s birth can indicate whether or not a child is suffering from this condition. Warning signs include:

  • Puffy, soft swellings on the infant’s head;
  • Bruising on the infant’s head;
  • Color changes in the area of the swelling; and
  • A mild to severe cone-shape to the infant’s head.

These signs could be indicative of a serious problem and if left untreated, could have dire consequences for the health of the infant.

The Risk Factors for Caput Succedaneum

There are a number of factors that could indicate to a careful and observant healthcare provider that a baby is at risk of suffering from caput succedaneum. Medical professionals, for instance, should be sure to closely monitor mothers and babies when:

  • The membrane that cushions the baby’s skull is prematurely ruptured during labor;
  • Forceps or vacuum extraction are used during delivery;
  • There are unusually low amounts of amniotic fluid; and
  • A labor is particularly difficult or prolonged.

Failing to take precautions in these cases can significantly increase a child’s chances of developing serious complications from caput succedaneum.

Potential Complications 

Fortunately, many babies who develop caput succedaneum don’t require extensive medical treatment. Usually, the swelling in the scalp will decrease within a few days and the baby won’t suffer any permanent damage. A baby who isn’t carefully observed, however, could develop complications, including jaundice. Jaundice is the result of an increase in the bilirubin in an infant’s system, which in these cases, can occur due to the excessive bruising that accompanied caput succedaneum. If left untreated, a baby could develop Kernicterus and suffer from permanent brain damage, hearing loss, athetoid cerebral palsy, and vision problems.

Consult with a Birth Injury Lawyer in Miami 

For help holding a doctor or nurse accountable for your own child’s injury or medical condition, please call (305) 371-2692 and set up a meeting with one of the dedicated Miami birth injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP today.