Head Circumference OFC

Definition Maximum circumference of the head.

Landmarks The maximum head circumference (usually horizontal just above the eyebrow ridges), is measured from just above the glabella area to the area near the top of the occipital bone (opisthocranion) (Fig. 6.1).

Instruments Tape-measure.

Position The patient should look straight ahead (Fig. 6.1).

Alternative It is often easier, in young infants, to have them stay seated on an adult's lap while measuring the head circumference, and to do the measurement from behind.

Remarks The head circumference measurement should be repeated after completely removing the tape from the head in order to ensure accuracy.

Although height and weight charts after birth are quite different for North American and North European populations, head circumference growth data after birth are not. Therefore, we have included only one figure for head circumference for each sex. We have added charts depicting neonatal head circumference size for North European males and females because these charts include earlier gestational ages compared to the data by Lubchenko et al. (Figs. 6.2-6.4)

Small Head Circumference

As more premature infants with very low birth weights survive, it is appropriate to use special curves for these infants. Most of the catch-up growth for OFC occurs during the first 6 months of life (Fig. 6.5).

Values for North American populations to age 16 years are given in Figs. 6.6-6.9.

Microcephaly is the term used for abnormal smallness of the head, usually as related to age; however, when the head is small it must be evaluated in the context of body size as well. Hence, a head can be described as microcephalic for age but relatively normocephalic for body size. Microcranium is the term used for an abnormally small skull. Macrocephaly (megacephaly) is the term for an abnormally large head (but does not imply the cause). Again, macrocephaly must be described in relationship to age and body size. Macrocranium is the term for an abnormally large skull.

Pitfalls Thick hair, braids, or big ears can get in the way when measuring head circumference and can lead to falsely elevated OFC values. If the head is an unusual shape, it may be difficult to palpate the landmarks.

In the case of craniosynostosis or an unusual head shape, OFC measurements can give false impressions of micro- or macrocephaly. In those cases, the head width, length, and forehead height are useful parameters. X-rays should be taken for a more objective estimate of the actual space available for the brain.

Figure 6.2 Head circumference, both sexes, at birth. From Lubchenco et al. (1963), by permission.

Figure 6.2 Head circumference, both sexes, at birth. From Lubchenco et al. (1963), by permission.

Head Circumference Lubchenco
27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 Gestational age (weeks)
Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

Get My Free Ebook


  • lea
    How to measure head circumference in infants landmarks glabella?
    6 years ago
  • Mari
    What are the landmarks for the measurement of the head circumference?
    6 years ago
  • Staci
    Which of the following is appropriate area for measuring the head circumference?
    6 years ago
  • madeline sinclair
    Which of the folliwing is appropriate area for,measuring the head circumference?
    5 years ago
  • martha jamieson
    How to measure head circumference of a child landmarks?
    4 years ago
  • jay
    How to measure head circumference in adults?
    4 years ago
  • Jaxon
    Which of the following landmarks is NOT used when measuring head circumference?
    3 years ago
  • filomena
    What is OFC in measurement of an infant?
    2 years ago
  • tullia
    Is OFC also headcircumfrence?
    2 years ago
  • aldo
    What are the landmark in measuring a newborn head circumference?
    9 months ago
  • lydia
    What are the landmarks for measuring occipitofrontal circumference?
    9 months ago
  • marlene lewis
    What are the land mark in measuring the head circumference of a newborn?
    8 months ago

Post a comment