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Doctor insights on: What Does Bulging Fontanel Mean

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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. William Singer
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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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 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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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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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

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. Milton Alvis Jr
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