Craniotabes is a softening of the skull bones.
Craniotabes can be a normal finding in infants, particularly premature infants. It may occur in up to one third of all newborn infants.
Craniotabes is harmless in the newborn, unless it is associated with other problems. These can include rickets and osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bones).
The health care provider will press the bone along the area where the bones of the skull come together. The bone often pops in and out, similar to pressing on a Ping-Pong ball if the problem is present.
No testing is done unless osteogenesis imperfecta or rickets is suspected.
Craniotabes that are not associated with other conditions are not treated.
Complete healing is expected.
There are no complications in most cases.
This problem is most often found when the baby is examined during a well-baby check. Call your provider if you notice that your child has signs of craniotabes (to rule out other problems).
Most of the time, craniotabes is not preventable. Exceptions are when the condition is associated with rickets and osteogenesis imperfecta.
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.