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January 1964

Transillumination of Skull in Infants and Children

Author Affiliations

David B. Shurtleff, MD, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 5, Wash.; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine and The Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center.

Am J Dis Child. 1964;107(1):14-24. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02080060016003

Reports in the literature have called attention to the importance of transillumination of the skull as an essential part of the neurologic evaluation of infants and children. Both the simplicity and safety of the examination, as well as its usefulness in evaluating the silent neopallium of both normocephalic and megalocephalic infants, have been discussed.*

The purpose of this report is to add to the existing literature data collected from personal observation of 62 children with translucent intracranial fluid collections.

Several entities, not previously reported, will be described and illustrated by case reports. Factors limiting transillumination of the skull in infants will be discussed and the need for routine cranial transillumination in the examination of all infants stressed. By this technique surgically correctible abnormalities can be detected before other signs are present and before irreparable brain damage has occurred.

Method  As other investigators have described, sufficient light is emitted by a