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fluid filled bump on the back of his head

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Good morning-Our 12 week old son developed a fluid filled bump on the back of his head on 4/4. It appeared in a 24 hour period and has appeared to slowly grow since then. We took him to the doctor on 4/5 and they reviewed and were unsure of what the cause could be but wanted us to alert them of changes and return in two weeks. We returned to the doctor the following Tuesday 4/9 due to him still having symptons and the spot appearing larger. The second doctor was initially concerned it could be a skull fracture and had us get an x-ray. The x-ray returned that all was fine. The doctor also thought it was not blood after we discussed a light test. Since the doctor had no idea what could be the cause and this was new set up paperwork for him to be referred to a neurosurgeon in the area. Since then the size has slightly increased and he appears to be overall more fussy than normal and sleeping more erratically. The doctors office mentioned it may take upwards of a week before we can even secure the appointment. Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated.

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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.


Fluid filled bump (swelling or cyst) on scalp can occur some times in infants without any specific known reason or minor injury to head while in crib or while handing the baby as such injuries can easily go unnoticed in babies. As the x-ray ruled out skull fracture and as it is not blood, there is nothing much to worry in your child's case. The bump must be localized fluid accumulation between skull bones and scalp which usually will disappear in few months time. The reason for baby being more fussy and erratic sleep may be due to irritation due to the swelling pressing against the crib or due to other reasons.

In any case an Ultrasound would be advisable to know the nature of the swelling and if further necessary an MRI can be done. The fluid can be drained if baby is very uncomfortable, but there is chance that fluid will re-accumulate. If baby is having any other symptoms like not taking food properly, becoming unresponsive, developing fever etc., take him to emergency room consultation. Otherwise, I suggest you need not worry and can take him to Neurosurgeon after securing appointment for further evaluation to rule out any other causes.

Thank you. Hope this helps.

Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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