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What is Craniotabes?

By H. Lo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Craniotabes, also known as congenital cranial osteoporosis, is a medical condition in which the bones of the skull are softening or thinning. The condition is not unusual and is normally found in about one-third of all infants, especially those that were born premature. Unless craniotabes occurs in association with certain other illnesses, the condition is not deemed dangerous, as it will eventually heal. If an infant does exhibit other illnesses, then the doctor will likely opt for treatment concerning that specific condition.

Symptoms that an infant might have craniotabes revolve around bones exhibiting softness. For example, the infant’s bones or skull might feel soft, particularly around suture lines. This softness lends the area to be flexible, meaning it can pop in and out when it is pressed. In addition, the area might be thin.

Craniotabes might be determined during a well-baby check. A well-baby check is a visit to the doctor to ensure that the baby is growing well. During the visit, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the baby’s development. Examples of what the doctor might examine are how much the baby weighs or if the baby can hear. It is during this examination that the doctor might notice the baby has craniotabes.

The doctor might not do anything for the condition. This is because the condition usually heals on its own by the time the baby is 1-month-old. If it doesn’t heal or if it accompanies other specific illnesses, like osteogenesis imperfecta or rickets, then the doctor might take measures to ensure the best treatment for the infant.

Osteogenesis imperfecta, otherwise known as brittle bone disease, is a congenital disease that means an individual has fragile bones. When an individual has this condition, his bones might fracture easily. His quality of life depends on how severe his condition is. There is no cure for osteogenesis imperfecta, but treatment options, such as exercise, surgery and therapy, are available.

Rickets is a disorder in which an individual exhibits soft or weak bones due to lack of calcium, phosphate or vitamin D. Infants normally do not have rickets, but when found in children, the medical condition can affect the way in which the body grows. To treat rickets, doctors target and eliminate the cause of it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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