Point-of-care Ultrasound to Distinguish Subgaleal and Cephalohematoma: Case Report.

TitlePoint-of-care Ultrasound to Distinguish Subgaleal and Cephalohematoma: Case Report.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsAcuña J, Adhikari S
JournalClin Pract Cases Emerg Med
Date Published2021 May
ISSN Number2474-252X

INTRODUCTION: Cephalohematomas generally do not pose a significant risk to the patient and resolve spontaneously. Conversely, a subgaleal hematoma is a rare but more serious condition. While it may be challenging to make this diagnostic distinction based on a physical examination alone, the findings that differentiate these two conditions can be appreciated on point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS). We describe two pediatric patient cases where POCUS was used to distinguish between a subgaleal hematoma and a cephalohematoma.

CASE REPORTS: We describe one case of a 14-month-old male brought to the pediatric emergency department (PED) with concern for head injury. A POCUS examination revealed a large fluid collection that did not cross the sagittal suture. Thus, the hematoma was more consistent with a cephalohematoma and less compatible with a subgaleal hematoma. Given these findings, further emergent imaging was deferred in the PED and the patient was kept for observation. In the second case an 8-week-old male presented with suspected swelling over the right parietal region. A POCUS examination was performed, which demonstrated an extensive, simple fluid collection that extended across the suture line, making it more concerning for a subgaleal hematoma. Given the heightened suspicion for a subgaleal hematoma, the patient was admitted for further imaging and evaluation.

CONCLUSION: Point-of-care ultrasound can be used to help differentiate between a subgaleal hematoma and a cephalohematoma to risk-stratify patients and determine the need for further imaging.

Alternate JournalClin Pract Cases Emerg Med
PubMed ID34437004
PubMed Central IDPMC8143819
Faculty Reference: 
Josie G. Acuña, MD
Srikar Adhikari, MD, MS, FACEP