October 4, 2023
Macrocephaly and Hydrocephalus

Difference Between Macrocephaly and Hydrocephalus

The key difference between macrocephaly and hydrocephalus is that macrocephaly is a condition in which a child’s head is much larger than other children of the same age and sex, and hydrocephalus is a condition in which fluid builds up in the cavities or ventricles inside the brain remains.

Macrocephaly and hydrocephaly are two associated brain conditions. This can be due to generalized macrocephaly hydrocephalus. Because of hydrocephalus, there is always excess cerebrospinal fluid. which sends the brain deep into the skull. Which ultimately increases the pressure on the brain and leads to microcephaly.

What is Macrocephaly?

Macrocephaly is a medical term used to describe such an important condition. Whereas a person, usually a small child, has a much larger head than a person of the same age and sex.

Figure-No-01: Hydrocephalus

This condition is most common in the United States. About 2 to 5% of their total population is diagnosed with this problem. Therefore, the signs and symptoms of this condition include rapid head growth, swelling of the baby’s head veins, delayed baby development, and hard or swollen bones of the baby’s skull.

Macrocephaly can be caused by hydrocephalus in the enlarged brain, bleeding in the baby’s brain, excessive growth of skull bones, brain tumors, and chronic hematomas, all of which are of the express type. Cowden syndrome-1, Gorlin syndrome, Gregg cephalopolysyndactyly syndrome (GCPS), and intracranial pressure syndrome are the cause of the increase.

What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is an accumulation of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. In hydrocephalus, the extra fluid causes the ventricles to enlarge and put more pressure on the brain. Thus, the symptoms of hydrocephalus in children are due to an abnormally formed large head (macrocephaly).

Figure-No-02: Hydrocephalus

A swollen soft spot on the top of the baby’s head, downward vision, vomiting, and drowsiness, and symptoms in older children include headaches, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, and developmental delays.

Symptoms in adults include headache, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, fatigue, and short-term memory loss. Symptoms in the elderly can include gait disturbances, mild dementia, forgetfulness, and loss of bladder control.

Hydrocephalus can cause narrowing of the small passageway between the third and fourth ventricles of the brain due to spina bifida. There are also complications of premature birth, infection during pregnancy (rubella), head injury, stroke, brain or spinal cord tumors, and meningitis, all of which can be caused by bleeding. Because it can also have complications from surgery.

Macrocephaly and Hydrocephalus Comparison Chart

Here’s a concise comparison chart highlighting the key differences between macrocephaly and hydrocephalus:

Aspect Macrocephaly Hydrocephalus
Definition Abnormally large head size in relation to age Accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles, leading to increased pressure
Causes Genetics, overgrowth disorders, normal variations, underlying conditions Congenital developmental abnormalities, acquired due to infections, bleeding, tumors, injuries
Head Circumference Enlarged, relative to age and developmental norms Enlarged, especially in infants; often accompanied by increased intracranial pressure
Symptoms Enlarged head size, may or may not have neurological symptoms Headaches, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, cognitive impairments, bulging fontanelle, irritability (in infants)
Developmental Milestones Typically normal Potential delays or regression due to increased pressure on brain tissue
Treatment Address underlying causes, if present Surgical placement of a shunt to redirect CSF and relieve pressure
Long-term Effects Often minimal impact on the development Potential cognitive, motor, and sensory deficits due to pressure and brain damage

Remember, this chart provides a general overview, and individual cases can vary in severity and presentation. If you suspect any of these conditions, it’s essential to seek medical evaluation and guidance for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

What are the Similarities Between Macrocephaly and Hydrocephalus?

  • Macrocephaly and hydrocephalus can be two associated brain conditions.
  • Macrocephaly can be caused by hydrocephalus.
  • Both conditions are predominantly present in children.
  • Their problems can be diagnosed through physical examination and imaging techniques.
  • They are mainly treated through surgeries.

Final word – Macrocephaly and Hydrocephalus

The brain can be thought of as the control center of the body or a part of the nervous system. Brain disorders affect the brain. They can occur due to illness, genetics, or trauma.

Macrocephaly and hydrocephalus are two associated brain conditions. Hydrocephalus can also cause microcephaly. However, macrocephaly is any child whose head is larger than other children of the same age and sex.

Hydrocephalus, on the other hand, is caused by an accumulation of fluid in the ventricles of the brain. Hence, it is referred to as a difference between macrocephaly and hydrocephalus.