The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis.
How is microcephaly diagnosed?
If a baby has congenital microcephaly – inherited through a genetic defect – it may be possible to diagnose his condition while he is still in the womb, through a prenatal ultrasound. (The test should only be performed in the third trimester, since a fetus’ smaller-than-normal head size is usually not obvious earlier in pregnancy.)
For children who develop signs of microcephaly later in infancy, doctors typically make a diagnosis by:
- obtaining a full medical and family history
- performing a complete physical exam
- measuring the circumference of the baby’s head (and continuing to take measurements as he grows, in order to compare his measurements to the average for his age and gender)
- measuring the heads of his parents (to determine whether it may simply be the case that smaller head sizes “run in the family,” rather than the child having microcephaly)
If a child has microcephaly that involves some degree of learning disability or other impairment, doctors may also order the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
- x-rays of his head
- coomputed Tomography (CT) scan of his head
- magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of his head
After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.
|One family's story|
Addison Lennon met all her early milestones: she sat up on time, crawled on time and walked on time. At about 4 months, however, she had a seizure, and her parents started to worry. By 9 months, her head appeared small for her age.
Learn how Children’s made a difference for Addison, her parents and her siblings.