Macrocephaly – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this condition. In addition, Macrocephaly refers to an excessively large head in infants. Not all cases of Macrocephaly are cause for alarm. However, it is often a sign of other complications or conditions in the brain .
In general, the newborn ‘s head circumference is two centimeters greater than the chest circumference. From 6 months to 2 years, these measurements are equal, and after that it is normal for the circumference of the chest to be greater than that of the head .
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A newborn’s fontanelle (soft spot) is large, but facial features are usually normal. Macrocephaly is distinguished from hydrocephalus in that there is no increase in pressure inside the head , however, hydrocephalus can result in megalocephaly in some children.
The disorder may result from a defect in formation during the embryonic stage, as a result of certain degenerative diseases, as a part of several genetic syndromes, or as an inherited family trait. Mental impairment, seizures, and movement disorders are common in children with megalocephaly.
Causes of Macrocephaly: Macrocephaly isnot a condition in itself. It is a symptom of other conditions. Benign familial macrocephaly is an inherited condition where a family is predisposed to having a larger head circumference .
Sometimes there is a problem with the brain , such as hydrocephalus or excess fluid. These underlying conditions will require treatment.
Benign extra-axial collection is a condition where there is a small amount of fluid in the brain . The amount of fluid is so small that it does not require treatment.
Other conditions that can cause Macrocephaly include:
- brain tumors;
- Intracranial hemorrhage;
- Chronic hematomas and other injuries;
- Morquio Syndrome;
- Hurler Syndrome.
Symptoms of Macrocephaly: Some children will havebenign macrocephaly . Many of these children will have no symptoms other than alarger head circumference.
In other cases, children may experience developmental delays. These include delays in achieving learning milestones. Other symptoms include:
- Mental deficiencies or delays;
- Rapid head growth ;
- retarded growth of the rest of the body;
- Comorbidity with other conditions, including autism or epilepsy.
Macrocephaly Risk Factors: There are certain factors that increase the likelihood of Macrocephaly . Genetics is a factor that is thought to be a part. Familial Macrocephaly is an inherited condition. It also thought that children with autism are more likely to have Macrocephaly . One study estimates that Macrocephaly will be evident in 15 to 35 percent of children with autism.
Macrocephaly Risk Factors:
- Alexander’s Disease;
- Canavan disease;
- A mother infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy.
There is no evidence that Macrocephaly affects children of any particular gender, nationality or race more often.
Diagnosing Macrocephaly: A pediatrician can diagnose Macrocephaly with an examination of the baby’s head measurements from birth to the present. They may also perform neurological tests. These may include a CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI to get a better view of the head and brain .
Since Macrocephaly can be a symptom, your doctor will evaluate the baby’s head to determine if there is an increase in pressure. Signs of increased pressure include vomiting, irritability, and headaches . The doctor will also look for bulging veins and eye problems. These symptoms will warrant further neurological evaluation to determine the underlying problem and its severity.
Be sure to inform your doctor of any family history of a larger-than-average head size.
Macrocephaly Treatments: Treatment for Macrocephaly will depend on the diagnosis.
If tests do not indicate problems and brain scans come back normal, the child’s head will continue to be monitored. During the monitoring phase, parents should advise:
- An annoying soft spot;
- vomiting ;
- Lack of interest in food;
- Abnormal eye movements;
- Excessive sleep;