S.B. asks from South Weymouth, MA on November 24, 2008
9 Month Old Having a CT Scan on Wednesday
My son is having a CT scan on Wednesday. He is a big baby boy...30 inches & 25 pounds. The doctor's are concerned with the increase in the size of his head & want to check for macrocephaly. I'm terrified about the scan...especially the fact that he will need to be sedated for the test. Bigger heads run in my side of the family..so hopefully that's all it is. He is a smart little boy but can't pull up yet when he's on his back & doesn't try to pull up in his crib. That is what prompted the test as well. Has anyone gone through this test & had any experience with >95% head size? I'd love to hear your thoughts...thanks so much.
So What Happened?™
Thank you to everyone for your advice & well wishes. We did have the CT scan & everything turned out to be just fine. The doctor said he had some benign fluid but she wasn't concerned. I guess I just have myself a big boy. :) We do have a follow up with a neurologist next month just to be on the safe side..to make sure he doesn't have any concerns about his development. Thanks again. This is a wonderful site & you all helped put me more at ease. I really appreciate that.
J.B. answers from Boston on November 25, 2008
K.W. answers from Burlington on November 24, 2008
I know it sounds very scary, but the CT scan is a very quick test (about 5-10 minutes). They will sedate him so he doesn't move around, but they don't always sedate babies for this. My son is 3 months old and has had to have several CT scans because he was found to have a bleed on his brain at birth (he's doing fine now!), and only once did they sedate him (and that was only because they were getting an MRI as well which is a much longer test). They would swaddle him tightly, place his head gently in this cushioned immobilizer, and gave him a pacifier. You might discuss this with the radiology people before you go there. Before every test they told us not to feed him for 4 hours before because they were going to sedate him, but then every time they said he looked relaxed enough to try the test without sedation. However, 9 months is a bit older and perhaps they are concerned he will move around alot. In any case, I wouldn't worry about the sedation either. They usually use a very fast acting medication that babies recover from quickly and don't have problems the rest of the day. I don't have any experience with macrocephaly, but try not to worry about anything yet because it sounds like your family just has larger heads. I hope all goes well. Hang in there, it will be fine!
J.M. answers from Boston on November 25, 2008
Our daughter needed a CT when she was only 4.5 weeks. Believe me, the test is so much harder on you than it is on them.
Our son's head was in the 99%, but our doctors never recommended this type of test. But, he did have some of the movement problems that you mention. He ended up needing to wear a helmet for a few months because his head shape was off.
Like you, large heads run in our family so I'm very hopeful for you that there will be nothing wrong with your son. I'll say a prayer for you.
Best of luck!
L.W. answers from Boston on November 25, 2008
I know how you feel about the ct scan. When my daughter was 2 she had her 1st one for seizures that were happening. Its not as bad as you think. I was sooo nervous. We we not allowed to go in with her. The staff came out & gave her a type of drink to relax her. They came back about a 1/2 hr later to bring her in. The nurse carried her away into back area. When they were thru, they came out to bring us in while she woke up. She was really very good about it. They said she did fine, (we did fine too :0 ). We had ours done at UMass, Worcester. Good luck.
J.C. answers from Hartford on November 24, 2008
My son is 16 months and has always had a 95th + head. He had an ultrasound when he was about 9 months. He wasnt sedated, but it was fast. Everything turned out fine. Some kids just have big heads! I wouldn't worry about it. Chances are that hes fine.
A.M. answers from Hartford on November 25, 2008
I can honestly tell you that I have been where you are and am now on the other side with a beautiful and vibrant daughter who will be 5 in February. At her birth, the dr's noticed that she had no soft spot. Within hours she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that we did not know that I have. She was scheduled for a CT scan at 36 hours old. She eventually had it when she was 3 1/2 days old. For her it was extremely easy. We were at CCMC and they are wonderful--in general, everyone working at a children's hospital is great. They know and appreciate kids (of ALL ages) and interact with both kids and parents appropriately--understanding the impact this is having on the parents, especially. The scan is very easy--our daughter did not need sedation for it because she slept through the entire thing. However, our other daughter has required sedation for other reasons, and all is well there, too. She is angry when she comes out and takes a little while for her to calm down, but otherwise, sedation and anesthesia have gone smoothly for both of our daughters.
Our first daughter had craniosynostosis--the premature fusion of the bones of the skull. Clearly, this is not what is being considered for your son. At 6 months, she underwent surgery to separate those fused areas--like I wrote above... she will be 5 in February and is a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent little girl. It is completely unknown to anyone unless we say something. I tell you this to offer my support and to let you know that you are NOT alone with craniofacial differences. I pray that everything will reveal to be as it should be, but if the scan does show that further tests/action is required, you will be fine. Your baby will be fine.
Please feel free to contact me with any specific concerns or even questions about what we went through. I am comfortable talking about it... now. Both of our children have undergone anesthesia (the first one at 6 months; the second one has been sedated and undergone anesthesia multiple times since she was 2 months old), so I have been there and can hopefully help you to understand what to expect. My prayers are with you and your baby boy--May God be with you tomorrow.
A.M. answers from Boston on November 25, 2008
I went through this with my son.
His head measured off the charts, he was a late bloomer for physical milestones, didnt walk until almost 2. had a spinal curve that complicated matters. Anyway to make a long story short, they were concerned with the milestone issues, and the head measurement. We had a ct, he was sedated. probably was a little over a year old. It is scary , for you, he wont remember it at all, just be prepared that when they are sedated, their color is not terriffic, and their muscles are very limp, scary to see, but my son was no worse for the wear. He is 12 and a half now. caught up on all physical milestones, and now along with his head being off the charts, so is his IQ lol. So we equate the large head measurement with a brighter than average brain, he has always liked this comparison. Oh and btw, he has grown into his head size. Try not to worry too much about this, I wish you luck just getting through the test. Keep us posted as to how he does.
A.D. answers from Boston on November 27, 2008
My sons head is large, runs on my husbands side of the family. At first his head measured in the 90-95% then at 4months his head went off the growth chart so my pediatrician sent us for a head ultrasound. We were not told about a CT scan. We took the results to a neurosurgeon at MGH Dr William Baker. We were told he has fluid between his brain and his skull that should reabsorb by age 2yr. So far developmentally he has been fine. He did not roll,I think the large head made it too hard. He started crawling at 10m and walking at 14m.
C.P. answers from Boston on November 25, 2008
My friend's son also had/has a large head. He too had trouble pulling up etc as a baby. His problem seemed to stem more from his neck muscles (and all of his muscles really) not being strong enough to support his head. He did have the scan (which came back normal and was not difficult for him at all). he received early intervention physical therapy until he was almost 2. He is now three and does everything my three year old does and yes, his head is still large...more room for brains I say...:o)
good luck with your test. I hope your situation turns out as positive as my friend's situation did!