Swelling and fluid between skull and scalp

Patient

Q: I am 36 years old and I have something that happens to me about three times a year. The top, sides and back of my head will swell up and fill with fluid. Sometimes it willl look like my head is mishapened. It is also very painful to the touch. After several days, the fluid will drain from my head to my neck and disappear and then I will be back to normal. I've had a biopsy done and nothing was found. Can you possibly give me any ideas as to what this might be?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for our question. The collection of fluid beneath the scalp could be due to swelling of lymphatic vessels and nodes in times of minor or major scalp infections. Since you have a high concentration of hair follicles (which are highly proliferation and dividing cellular structures), there is a lot of cellular debris which accumulates which can be a nidus for infection. This would result in transient swelling of the lymph nodes under the scalp as they assist in removing any such infection buy supplying immune cells. We recommend that you monitor this and if you experience and pain or hairloss in the are when this occurs, please see your doctor for further evaluation.

Thank you for consulting AskTheDoctor.com

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