cephalic molding

Cephalic Molding

ROBERT P. BLEREAU, MD
Morgan City, La

DEEPAK M. KAMAT, MD, PhD—Series Editor: Dr Kamat is professor of pediatrics at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is also director of the Institute of Medical Education and vice chair of education at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, both in Detroit.

The pictures of this baby girl with extensive cephalic molding were taken within 1 hour after birth. The infant was born at full term to a healthy mother via normal spontaneous vaginal delivery after an uncomplicated pregnancy. Weight, length, and head circumference were average for a full-term baby.

In most cases, cephalic molding is a transient self-correcting cranial deformity. The molding occurs because of the disproportion between the size of the vaginal vault and the width of the descending head and the high pressure exerted by uterine contractions on the infant’s soft cranium as it passes through the birth canal. The molded cranial structures correct naturally, with no external manipulation. The head configuration typically becomes
normal within 24 hours of birth, as was the case in this infant.

In rare instances, cephalic molding may occur with other skull anomalies. Intracranial hypertension secondary to cephalic molding can occur when the deformity persists for weeks to months after birth.1