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cephalhaematoma (sef-ăl-heem-ă-toh-mă) n. a swelling on the head caused by a collection of bloody fluid between one or more of the skull bones and its covering membrane (periosteum). It is most commonly seen in newborn infants delivered with the aid of forceps or subjected to pressures during passage through the birth canal. No treatment is necessary and the swelling disappears in a few months. If it is extensive, the blood in the fluid may break down, releasing bilirubin into the bloodstream and causing jaundice.