BMJ Case Reports 2010; doi:10.1136/bcr.04.2010.2915
  • Findings that shed new light on the possible pathogenesis of a disease or an adverse effect

Subaponeurotic or subgaleal fluid collections in infancy: an unusual but distinct cause of scalp swelling in infancy

  1. James Dwyer3
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, York District Hospital, York, UK
  2. 2Department of Radiology, York District Hospital, York, UK
  3. 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, York District Hospital, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to Atul Vaibhav, atulvaibhav{at}


Subaponeurotic or subgaleal fluid collection is a rare but important cause of scalp swelling in young infants. Fluid in the subaponeurotic or subgaleal space presents as soft, ill-defined, fluctuant, highly mobile scalp swelling and is not limited by suture lines, which makes it clinically very distinct from other scalp swellings. However, the aetiology of such swelling still remains uncertain but may be related to traumatic labour that manifests after the first few weeks of life. There is no indication for imaging if the condition is diagnosed clinically with confidence. The late subaponeurotic or subgaleal fluid collection resolves spontaneously without any intervention, hence conservative management is the treatment of choice.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article