from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Classification according to ICD-10
Q75 Other congenital malformations of the skull and facial skull bones
Q75.3 Macrocephaly
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Macrocephaly (also macrocephaly, ancient Greek μακρός macros 'long, large'; κεφαλή kephalē 'head') denotes an above-average size of the skull . Macrocephaly is when the head circumference is above the 97th percentile of the age- and gender-specific comparison collective.

Possible causes are familial enlargement of the forehead region (balcony forehead), changes in the cranial bones , subdural fluid accumulation ( subdural hemorrhage , hygroma ), hydrocephalus , masses and arteriovenous malformations .

Macrocephaly can be part of a genetic syndrome , e.g. B. Cowden syndrome .

Natural macrocephaly

Naturally occurring macrocephaly without a medical cause ( megalencephaly ) has for a long time been and has recently been seen again as a sign of possibly high intelligence, but without solid evidence. In contrast , hydrocephaly, which is also accompanied by large-headedness, is - if left untreated - sometimes associated with cognitive disabilities .

Artificial Macrocephaly

Artificially deformed skull

In earlier times, some tribes and peoples (such as the Huns in Europe and the Chinook in North America with the help of a hinge-like ark) practiced changing the shape of the skull for aesthetic purposes. The Maya used special cribs, the head was fixed by two wooden slats. Skull deformations were already observed in the Neanderthal finds in the Shanidar cave in Iraq (43,000 BC). Hippocrates reported about a people he called macrocephalic or long-headed people : With them, bandages were wrapped around the heads of the children in order to guide the development of the still soft skull into the desired shape. Other peoples used heavy stones or massaged the newborn's skull, often as part of ceremonial acts such as in Southeast Asia. However, it is controversial whether the heads of Egyptian rulers were manipulated.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ P. Pavone, AD Praticò, R. Rizzo, G. Corsello, M. Ruggieri, E. Parano, R. Falsaperla: A clinical review on megalencephaly: A large brain as a possible sign of cerebral impairment. In: Medicine. Volume 96, number 26, June 2017, p. E6814, doi: 10.1097 / MD.0000000000006814 , PMID 28658095 , PMC 5500017 (free full text) (review).