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Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jun 15;67(12):2547-52.

The abnormal fontanel.

Author information

1
Department of Family Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio 45239, USA. kieslehj@fammed.uc.edu

Abstract

The diagnosis of an abnormal fontanel requires an understanding of the wide variation of normal. At birth, an infant has six fontanels. The anterior fontanel is the largest and most important for clinical evaluation. The average size of the anterior fontanel is 2.1 cm, and the median time of closure is 13.8 months. The most common causes of a large anterior fontanel or delayed fontanel closure are achondroplasia, hypothyroidism, Down syndrome, increased intracranial pressure, and rickets. A bulging anterior fontanel can be a result of increased intracranial pressure or intracranial and extracranial tumors, and a sunken fontanel usually is a sign of dehydration. A physical examination helps the physician determine which imaging modality, such as plain films, ultrasonography, computed tomographic scan, or magnetic resonance imaging, to use for diagnosis.

PMID:
12825844
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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