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Macrocephaly

By Stephen J. Falchek, MD, Director, Residency Program and formerly Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology;Instructor, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children;Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University

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Macrocephaly is the technical term for a large head.

Infants with macrocephaly have a head circumference that is considerably larger than others of the same age. Macrocephaly can be classified as.

  • Disproportionate: The head is larger than appropriate for the child's overall size

  • Proportionate: The head appears appropriately sized for the body (in other words, the child has a large body and a large head)

Many people with large heads or large skulls are healthy.

Abnormal macrocephaly may be due to an enlarged brain (megalencephaly), water on the brain (hydrocephalus), overgrowth of the bones of the skull (cranial hyperostosis), or other conditions. These conditions may be the result of genetic disorders or disorders the child acquired before or after birth.