Cranial fasciitis: A systematic review and diagnostic approach to a pediatric scalp mass

Ryan D. Wagner, Eric K. Wang, Mark S. Lloyd, Sandi K. Lam, David Y. Khechoyan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Cranial fasciitis is an uncommon, benign fibroproliferative condition of the scalp or skull that arises in children. Clinically, it manifests as a firm, nontender, subcutaneous, enlarging mass. The purpose of our study was to review the literature on cranial fasciitis to create a diagnostic algorithm using the latest patient at our institution as an example. The authors conducted a systematic review examining all published cases of cranial fasciitis in English literature. The authors then created a diagnostic algorithm to help distinguish cranial fasciitis from other similarly presenting cranial masses. To demonstrate this algorithm, the authors detailed the latest patient with cranial fasciitis at our institution. The authors extracted data from 53 published reports documenting 72 patients of cranial fasciitis. Our patient presented similarly to what was reported in the literature. A 7-week-old boy presented with 2 small parietal scalp masses that were noted shortly after birth. After noncontrast computed tomography imaging, the enlarging masses were resected and found to have eroded the outer cranial vault cortex. Histological analysis revealed cranial fasciitis. The differential diagnosis for an enlarging scalp mass in an infant or child is broad. Cranial fasciitis cannot be diagnosed based on clinical presentation alone. Imaging is usually employed to further characterize lesions after initial examination but histopathological analysis is essential for diagnosis. The locally invasive nature of cranial fasciitis makes it difficult to distinguish from malignant conditions such as sarcomas. However, if the diagnosis of cranial fasciitis is considered early, patients can achieve prompt clinical resolution following simple resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e65-e71
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cranial fasciitis
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Scalp mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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