Caput Succedaneum

A caput succedaneum ("caput") is swelling that involves the scalp of a newborn.  In the usual case, the swelling is due to pressure on a baby's head by the uterus or vaginal wall during delivery.  A caput is usually a sign of a complicated or difficult delivery, and is frequently accompanied by head molding.  Signs of a caput include:
  • swelling of part of a newborn's scalp;
  • discoloration of the involved area; and
  • bruising of the involved area.
A caput is often associated with prolonged rupture of membranes and oligohydramnios because, in both circumstances, there is not enough amniotic fluid to cushion the baby's head.  The use of forceps or a vacuum can also cause a caput. 

While often confused, a caput is not a cephalohematoma.  The primary difference is that the former occurs close to the surface of the scalp and may cross the midline of the skull; whereas, the latter occurs closer to the bones of the skull and involve the periosteum.

A caput usually resolves without treatment, but must be monitored because the pooled blood will eventually be converted by the baby's liver into bilirubin and, in turn, can cause jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia.

The trial lawyers at Bottar Law, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict medical malpractice and birth injury cases.  If you or your baby have been injured due to medical malpractice, you, your child and your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, special education, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. 

To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney, contact us now at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at