Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA — composed by Amber Erickson Gabbey — update on September 17, 2018

What is macrocephaly?

Macrocephaly refers to an overly large head. It’s regularly a symptom of complications or conditions in the brain.

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There’s a standard provided to specify macrocephaly: The circumference of a who head is much more than two standard deviations over average for their age. Or, your head is bigger than the 98th percentile.

Macrocephaly is generally a symptom of other conditions. Benign familial macrocephaly is an inherited condition. It wake up in households predisposed to having actually larger heads.

Sometimes there is a trouble with the brain, such together hydrocephalus or overfill fluid. Underlying conditions will need treatment.

Benign extra-axial repertoire is a condition where there’s liquid in the brain. But this problem doesn’t call for treatment due to the fact that the lot of liquid is minor.

Other conditions that can reason macrocephaly include:

certain genetic syndromes and metabolic conditionssome types of infections

Some kids will have actually benign macrocephaly. And they won’t endure symptoms various other than having actually a bigger head circumference.

In various other cases, youngsters may experience developmental delays, favor reaching finding out milestones. Various other symptoms include:

mental disabilities or delaysrapid head growthslowed expansion of the remainder of the human body

There are factors that increase the likelihood the macrocephaly, choose genetics. Familial macrocephaly is an inherited condition. It’s also thought that kids with autism have actually a greater incidence the macrocephaly. One study estimates 15 come 35 percent of youngsters with autism will have actually macrocephaly.

There is no evidence that macrocephaly affects kids of any specific sex, nationality, or race much more often.

A pediatrician can diagnose macrocephaly. They will track one infant’s head dimensions over time. Your medical professional will also perform neurological tests. This can include a CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI to acquire a much better look in ~ the head and also brain.

Because macrocephaly deserve to be a symptom, you doctor will check your infant’s head for boost in pressure. Symptom of increased pressure include:


Your doctor will also look because that bulging veins and also eye problems. These symptoms need neurological review to discover the basic problem and also its severity.

Be certain to tell your medical professional if you have actually a family history of larger-than-average head size.

Treatment because that macrocephaly will rely on the diagnosis.

If tests don’t suggest problems, and mind scans are normal, your physician will continue to monitor you infant’s head. Parental are likewise advised to watch for:

a bulging soft spotvomitinglack of interest in foodabnormal movements in the eyesexcessive sleepingirritability

Studies on macrocephaly in adults room limited. This is partly since head measurements are frequently only taken during a baby’s development. Macrocephaly in adult is an occipitofrontal (head) circumference up to three standard deviations over the average. That can additionally be a brain weighing more than 1,800 grams. This is because of expansion that cerebral tissue. Many adults v macrocephaly don’t continue to thrive through adulthood.

Complications are rare in bright macrocephaly. But they have the right to occur. Civilization with mind overgrowth may experience brainstem compression. This requires surgery to decompress the mind stem.

People through macrocephaly frequently have hydrocephalus. This is a condition where an abnormally high lot of cerebrospinal fluid collects in the brain.

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Other complications include:

seizures or epilepsyperinatal threat factorsneurologic comorbidity, or the coexistence the two problems (this can lead to other complications and health problems)

Infants v benign familial macrocephaly usually thrive up v no major complications. In various other cases, the outlook for macrocephaly depends on the basic condition and its severity.


Medically the evaluation by George Krucik, MD, MBA — composed by Amber Erickson Gabbey — update on September 17, 2018