Microcephaly Differential Diagnoses

Updated: Aug 23, 2021
  • Author: James J Reese, Jr, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP, FANA  more...
  • Print

Diagnostic Considerations

The main differential consideration is to first determine if the patient has craniosynostosis, a problem with brain growth, or no issues beyond head size. If the etiology is determined to be a problem of brain growth, the clinician should then differentiate between a progressive or static insult.

The degree of microcephaly may play a role in the physician’s likelihood to pursue further workup. Children with a head circumference more than 3 standard deviations below normal are more likely to have underlying structural abnormalities than children with a head circumference between 2 and 3 standard deviations below normal. [3]


Differential Diagnoses