Encephalocele

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Encephalocele is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • cephalocele
  • cranium bifidum
  • craniocele

Disorder Subdivisions

  • cranial meningocele
  • encephalomeningocele
  • encephalocystomeningocele

General Discussion

Summary
Encephaloceles are rare birth defects associated with skull defects characterized by partial lacking of bone fusion leaving a gap through which a portion of the brain sticks out (protrudes). In some cases, cerebrospinal fluid or the membranes that cover the brain (meninges) may also protrude through this gap. The portion of the brain that sticks outside the skull is usually covered by skin or a thin membrane so that the defect resembles a small sac. Protruding tissue may be located on any part of the head, but most often affects the back of the skull (occipital area). Most encephaloceles are large and significant birth defects that are diagnosed before birth. However, in extremely rare cases, some encephaloceles may be small and go unnoticed. The exact cause of encephaloceles is unknown, but most likely the disorder results from the combination of several factors (multifactorial).

Introduction
Encephaloceles are classified as neural tube defects. The neural tube is a narrow channel in the developing fetus that allows the brain and spinal cord to develop. The neural tube folds and closes early during pregnancy (third or fourth week) to complete the formation of the brain and spinal cord. A neural tube defect occurs when the neural tube does not close completely, which can occur anywhere along the head, neck or spine. The lack of proper closing of the neural tube can lead to a herniation process which appears as a pedunculated (having a stalk-like base) or sessile (attached directly to its base without a stalk) cystic lesion protruding through a defect in the cranial vault referred as encephalocele. They may contain herniated meninges and brain tissue (encephalocele or meningoencephalocele) or only meninges (cranial meningocele). Encephaloceles containing tissue from the brain and spinal cord are called encephalomyeloceles.

Resources

Children's Craniofacial Association
13140 Coit Road
Suite 517
Dallas, TX 75240
USA
Tel: (214)570-9099
Fax: (214)570-8811
Tel: (800)535-3643
Email: contactCCA@ccakids.com
Internet: http://www.ccakids.com

FACES: The National Craniofacial Association
PO Box 11082
Chattanooga, TN 37401
Tel: (423)266-1632
Fax: (423)267-3124
Tel: (800)332-2373
Email: faces@faces-cranio.org
Internet: http://www.faces-cranio.org

National Hydrocephalus Foundation
12413 Centralia Rd.
Lakewood, CA 90715-1653
USA
Tel: (562)924-6666
Fax: (562)924-6666
Tel: (888)857-3434
Email: nhf@earthlink.net
Internet: http://www.nhfonline.org

AmeriFace
P.O. Box 751112
Limekiln, PA 19535
USA
Tel: (702)769-9264
Fax: (702)341-5351
Tel: (888)486-1209
Email: info@ameriface.org
Internet: http://www.ameriface.org

Hydrocephalus Association
4340 East West Highway Ste 950
Bethesda, MD 20814
USA
Tel: (301)202-3811
Fax: (301)202-3813
Tel: (888)598-3789
Email: info@hydroassoc.org
Internet: http://www.hydroassoc.org

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981
Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

Birth Defect Research for Children, Inc.
976 Lake Baldwin Lane
Orlando, FL 32814
USA
Tel: (407)895-0802
Email: staff@birthdefects.org
Internet: http://www.birthdefects.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  1/5/2012
Copyright  1992, 2000, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

First Nurse

First Nurse

Call First Nurse 24 Hours a Day for free health care advice, resources and referrals!

Ames: 515-239-6877
In Iowa: 800-524-6877 

Search health information online in our Mulimedia Health Library.

Symptom Checker

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Symptom Checker

Patient Privacy | Net Learning for Employees | MGMC PACS for Physicians
Emergency Preparedness

1111 Duff Avenue Ames, IA 50010 - 515-239-2011 - yourhealth.mgmc@mgmc.com

©2014 Mary Greeley Medical Center - All rights reserved.