OverviewMicrocephaly is a head size (measured as the distance around the top of the head) significantly below the median for the infant's age and sex. Significantly below is generally considered to be smaller than 3 standard deviations below the mean, or less than 42 cm in circumference at full growth. It most often occurs because of failure of the brain to grow at a normal rate.
Update Date 12/4/2013
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.