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Doctor insights on: How To Tell If Baby Has Bulging Fontanel

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Does the presence of a bulging fontanel (soft spot) mean that my baby has meningitis?

Does the presence of a bulging fontanel (soft spot) mean that my baby has meningitis?

Possibly, but...: A bulging fontanel is associated with meningitis. But babies with meningitis have other issues, which may include fevers, poor feeding, lethargy. And bulging fontanel is not only caused by meningitis either. Please see your child's pediatrician if you are concerned. ...Read more

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Dr. Qamar Khan
22 doctors shared insights

Soft Spot On Top Of Head (Definition)

In an infant, the space where two skull-bone sutures join forms a membrane-covered "soft spot" called a fontanel (fontanelle). The fontanels allow for growth of the skull during an infant's first year. The fontanels should feel firm and very slightly curved inward to the touch. A tense or bulging fontanel occurs when fluid builds up in the skull cavity or when pressure increases in the brain (increased intracranial pressure). When the infant is crying, lying down, or vomiting, the fontanels may look like they are slightly bulging, but they should return to normal when the infant is in ...Read more


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What is the definition or description of: Bulging fontanel?

What is the definition or description of: Bulging fontanel?

Increased Pressure: A bulging fontanelle (soft spot on baby's head) is most likely due to increased intracranial pressure. This may be due to a number of factors, including head bleeds, an intracranial mass, or a defect in cerebral spinal fluid production/flow. It is a "safety valve" for babies, and it lets physicians know that a work-up needs to be performed quickly to determine the cause. ...Read more

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What can cause bulging fontanel except meningitis?

Meningitis: Anything causing an increase in the pressure within the skull, such as swelling of the brain, can cause bulging fontanels in infants. ...Read more

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My 6 month old has a bulging fontanel. All tests (mri, CT scan, bloodwork, etc) have come back negative. What else should I push for. ?

My 6 month old has a bulging fontanel. All tests (mri, CT scan, bloodwork, etc) have come back negative. What else should I push for. ?

Depends: A bulging fontanel can be normal depending on the position the child is in when it is evaluated. A crying child who is lying down will almost always have a bulging fontanel. A bulge indicates an increase in pressure - either in the skull itself, or within the superior sagittal sinus (the giant vein which lies just beneath the fontanel). A spinal tap is warranted to check the intracranial pressure. ...Read more

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I can't tell if my babies fontanelle is bulging?

I can't tell if my babies fontanelle is bulging?

Bulging fontannele: It depends on the age of the child. After 12 to 18 months the fontanelle is closing and therefore it may not be open enogh for you to tell it may be bulging. If your child is healthy, does not have a fever and is acting normally, i would not keep checking the closing fontanelle. ...Read more

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What does it mean when your baby's fontanel is risen?

What does it mean when your baby's fontanel is risen?

Get checked: If you are checking the fontanelle while your baby is laying down, then it may appear bulging due to gravity, so sit the baby up and check it. If it is still bulging or if the baby has a fever or is lethargic or inconsolable and very cranky then get your baby checked immediately. ...Read more

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Why is my baby's fontanel (soft spot) swollen?

Why is my baby's fontanel (soft spot) swollen?

Go to ED: If the fontanel is bulging it needs IMMEDIATE evaluation! Get off the computer and get your baby to a doctor. ...Read more

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Why is my 6months old baby's fontanel swollen?

Why is my 6months old baby's fontanel swollen?

Get checked: If you are checking the fontanelle while your baby is laying down, then it may appear bulging due to gravity, so sit the baby up and check it. If it is still bulging or if the baby has a fever or is lethargic or inconsolable and very cranky then get your baby checked immediately. ...Read more

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Is it normal for 1 year old and 2 month baby s fontanel to close because my nephew s fontanel is already closed and is it effect tooth formation?

Is it normal for 1 year old and 2 month baby s fontanel to close because my nephew s fontanel is already closed and is it effect tooth formation?

That is normal: The frontal fontanel is typically completely closed by 18-24 months, but often feels hard/sealed by your fingers by around 1 yr, some a bit earler, some later. During routine infant exam, docs/nurses check this and so if baby has been growing, developing normally, without concern from his doc, i believe he is well/normal. Watch him do wonderful stuffs as he grows! enjoy and good luck. ...Read more

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What are the potential complications for infant born @ 28 weeks? My daughter is 21 weeks pregnant. Scans show the infant is developing normally. Her cervix is opening and thinning and the membranes are showing but not bulging. Her physicians gave two opti

What are the potential complications for infant born @ 28 weeks? My daughter is 21 weeks pregnant. Scans show the infant is developing normally. Her cervix is opening and thinning and the membranes are showing but not bulging. Her physicians gave two opti

Regarding : Regarding the timing of a placement of a cerclage, I do not think that there is clear consensus on the utility at 21 weeks gestation, and the benefit/risk ratio must be weighed carefully and individually for each patient. In general, the presence of fetal membranes prolapsing through the external cervical os is a relative contraindication to the procedure because the risk of the accidental rupture of the membranes in this setting is great. When premature labor develops and cannot be stopped, the health care team will prepare for a high-risk delivery and immediate resuscitation. The “special care” of a premature infant happens in a neonatal intensive care unit (nicu) and involves the treatment of every organ system in the baby. For example, the preemie baby’s temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation is constantly monitored. Soon after birth, the infant will probably need help via technology to feed, via a feeding tube, and breathe via a ventilator and/or supplemental oxygen administration. In addition, the infant may develop problems with digestion or infections. It is not uncommon for very premature infants to require a blood transfusion at some point during their course in the intensive care unit, and if there is a genetic reason that has contributed to the prematurity, those specific issues will be managed as well. Hospital care is needed until the infant is able to breathe without extra support, feed by mouth, and maintains body temperature and a stable or increasing body weight. Babies born before 37 weeks gestation can have long-term medical or developmental concerns that continue into childhood or longer. In general, the earlier an infant is born and the smaller the infant is at birth the greater the risk of complications. However, it is impossible to predict a baby's long-term outcome based on gestational age or birth weight alone. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: Delayed closure of anterior fontanel?

What is the definition or description of: Delayed closure of anterior fontanel?

Delayed closure: Most anterior fontanel close between 18-24 months of age. Delayed closure means persistence of open fontanel beyond 24 months of age. ...Read more

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My 6 1/2 mo old ped. Felt his anterior fontanel but says that it might be closing early than usual. Should i be worried? Or is this normal @ his age?

My 6 1/2 mo old ped. Felt his anterior fontanel but says that it might be closing early than usual. Should i be worried? Or is this normal @ his age?

Follow closely..: It is a bit early for the skull to fuse, but unless he has had a head MRI or ct to assess exactly how open or closed they are, i would not panic. If his head shape is normal and symmetric, if head size is increasing along appropriate percentiles, development is normal, then i would put my mind at ease. However, these parameters, including head size and shape, need to be monitored monthly for now. ...Read more

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Is the size of fingertip dent on my 4month old grandson's anterior fontanel normal. Told my son to address it with ped. He forgot! it was always smal?

Is the size of fingertip dent on my 4month old grandson's anterior fontanel normal.  Told my son to address it with ped. He forgot! it was always smal?

Normal: I'm sure it is a normal anterior fontanelle - "soft spot". If he has been going to the pediatrician regularly, we all have this fixation about rubbing babies soft spots. For us it's almost like another vital sign like heart rate or blood pressure. If there was something abnormal with it when he was at the doctors office, i'm sure the pediatrician would have mentioned something about it to your son. ...Read more

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What do you know about fontanel early closure?

What do you know about fontanel early closure?

Enough...: The anterior fontanelle usually closes between 7 and 21 months. Early closure (before 6 months) causes concern that perhaps other areas of the skull might be fusing too early and that leads to abnormal head growth (plagiocephaly). It it can easily evaluated with a head x-ray. I have seen many cases and even with the fontanelle closed early the others are open. Surgery can fix if a problem is there. ...Read more

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Im 48 yrs old i feel a slight pressure on my fontanel is this normal?

Impossible: Your fontanel should have closed when you were a year old. Are you sure this is your question. Reconsider and write back. ...Read more

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How to identify the anterior and posterior fontanels of a newborn, explain their functions.?

How to identify the anterior and posterior fontanels of a newborn, explain their functions.?

Soft spots: The fontanels can be identified by an exam of the baby's head. They are soft spots that you can feel between the different bones of the skull which have not yet fused. The anterior fontanel is easiest to find be cause it is typically larger. Fontanels do not a have a true function but are fibrous sheets of tissue that connect the plates of the immature skull while protecting the brain below. ...Read more

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Is it bad to have a large anterior fontanel?

Is it bad to have a large anterior fontanel?

Depends: Large fontanels may caused by: down syndrome hydrocephalus intrauterine growth retardation (iugr) premature birth rarer causes: achondroplasia apert syndrome cleidocranial dysostosis congenital rubella neonatal hypothyroidism osteogenesis imperfecta rickets. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: Large anterior fontanel?

What is the definition or description of: Large anterior fontanel?

The fontanels: represent points over which the growing skull plates will eventually close. Failure of the involved growth plates, those which meet at the front and top of the head, to grow to closure results in a large anterior fontanel. It is the soft spot on the top, front of an infant's head. ...Read more

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Posterior fontanel still open on my 9 month old? He is otherwise developing normally.

Normal: Open fontanelle is usually no problem at this age. For reassurance ask doctor or child nurse to check head circumference (need to compare this with previous measurements). See "http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x552709/what-are-the-soft-spots-on-my-newborns-head" for more. ...Read more

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6 month old has extra cerebralspinal fluid. Im told will resolve on its own. Is this true? What if left untreated?He has fluctuating anterior fontanel

Extra ???: The spinal fluid is produced continuously through life at about a tablespoonful per hour by structures in the brain. It circulates through it's normal pathway & is absorbed into the circulation from the brain surface. Blockage of flow must be opened or structures distort but the body adjusts to fluctuations in fluid amount.True excess production will produce rapid head growth & need surgery. ...Read more

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I'm 51 years old. I felt a " sunken" area on top of my skull. I think its the anterior fontanel. is this bad? its ok to touch but continuously it hurt

I'm 51 years old. I felt a " sunken" area on top of my skull. I think its the anterior fontanel. is this bad? its ok to touch but continuously it hurt

Not fontanelle: The anterior fontanelle closes early in childhood and does not reopen. Could you have had an injury with a depressed skull fracture? Other possibilities include thinning of bone, infection, tumor. You should have this examined. ...Read more

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What is the best treatment for delayed closure of anterior fontanel soft spot?

What is the best treatment for delayed closure of anterior fontanel soft spot?

Patience: Most kids will have what feels to be closure of the anterior fontanel by 15-18 mo but some may persist. The separation between the bones will persist to some degree until about 9 when kids reach their adult head size. In examining thousands of kids over 3 decades, i never found one that didn't eventually close. ...Read more

Soft Spot On Head Bulging (Definition)

Soft spot on head is bulging is a symptom in which the soft spot (fontanelle) on top of a baby's head is more firm than usual, and is pushing up the scalp (bulging) a small amount. A momentary bulging soft spot is due to increased pressure, such as when a baby pushes to poop or when a baby is crying. If a soft spot remains bulging, and there are other ill symptoms, the ...Read more


Dr. Gerald Mandell
11 doctors shared insights

Bulging Fontanel (Definition)

A bulging fontanelle (soft spot on baby's head) is most likely due to increased intracranial pressure. This may be due to a number of factors, including head bleeds, an intracranial mass, or a defect in cerebral spinal fluid production/flow. It is a "safety valve" for babies, and it lets physicians know that a work-up needs to be performed quickly ...Read more