Caput succedaneum (KAH-puht SUX-a-DAY-nee-um) is a boggy, indistinct swelling of the scalp of newborns caused by the tourniquet effect of the cervix on the scalp. It is temporary, lasting only about a day or so. As it recedes, an underlying cephalohematoma may be revealed. While caput is boggy and indistinct, these are definitely circumscribed and have a distinct feel of being filled with fluid under pressure - like a water filled balloon.

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