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Children's Health

Knot on infant`s head

08/20/2007

Question:

My four month old baby has a knot that feels like a nerve on the back of her head.the knot is hard but when i touch it it moves like there is a vein or nerve around it. She has had this since she was born and i thought it was just something with her newborn head at first but it is still there. I was t4rying not to get worried but the more i think about it the stranger it seems.

Answer:

Two common possibilities are that it is a slowly resolving small are of bleeding under the periosteal covering of the skull bone called a cephalohematoma or that it is an enlarged lymph node. Cephalo means head and hematoma is a collection of blood. These occur because of a mild injury to the baby's head during birth just from the stress of labor contractions and pushing. As the fresh blood clots, it becomes firmer. It may take up until 6 months of age before the lump is no longer felt. Enlarged lymph node on the back of the head occur when there is an infection in nearby tissues that the lymph node protects from infection. Ringworm is a very common scalp infection that results in enlarged lymph nodes on the back of the head or in the neck. Usually this comes from using a hair brush already contaminated with the ringworm infection to brush the baby's hair. 

The best thing to do is to have your baby's doctor examine it and explain what she or he thinks it is. The good news is that it is movable. Most serious problems, such as tumors, result in non-movable lumps.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University