St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Fontanelles - enlarged

    Soft spot - large

    Enlarged fontanelles are larger than expected soft spots for the age of a baby.

    The skull of an infant or young child is made up of bony plates that allow for growth of the skull. The borders at which these plates intersect are called sutures or suture lines.The spaces where these connect, but are not completely joined, are called soft spots or fontanelle (fontanel or fonticulus).

    Considerations

    Fontanelles allows for growth of the skull during an infant's first year. Slow or incomplete closure of the skull bones is most often the cause of a wide fontanelle.

    For general information, see fontanelles.

    Causes

    Larger than normal fontanelles are most commonly 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

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    If you think that the fontanelles on your baby's head are excessively large, talk to your health care provider. Most of the time, this sign will have been seen during the baby's first medical exam.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    An enlarged large fontanelle is almost always found by the health care provider during a physical exam.

    • The health care provider will examine the child and measure the child's head around the largest area.
    • The doctor may also turn off the lights and shine a bright light over the child's head.
    • Your baby's soft spot will be regularly checked at each well-child visit.

    Blood tests and imaging tests of the head may be done.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Skull of a newborn

      illustration

    • Fontanelles

      illustration

    • Large fontanelles (later...

      illustration

    • Large fontanelles

      illustration

      • Skull of a newborn

        illustration

      • Fontanelles

        illustration

      • Large fontanelles (later...

        illustration

      • Large fontanelles

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

            Tests for Fontanelles - enlarged

              Review Date: 11/7/2011

              Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
              adam.com

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              History
              Mission
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs
              Assessment

              Newsroom
              Services
              Brain & Spine
              Cancer
              Heart
              Maternity
              Orthopedics
              Pulmonary
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              mystlukes
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Health Risk Assessments
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Volunteer
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              Careers
              Careers
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile