An encephalocele is a rare birth defect which occurs during the pregnancy when the developing skull of the baby fails to close completely. A part of the brain may come through the hole in the skull. Sometimes meninges, membranes that cover the brain and cerebrospinal fluid come through the opening as well.
The development of brain and spinal cord occur inside a structure called the neural tube. Some part of the brain may stick outside this neural tube when it does not close properly. A thin membrane called sac covers the part of the brain which is outside the neural tube.
An encephalocele can be located:
• In the base of the skull
• In the area of the nose, sinuses and forehead
• From the top of the skull around to the back of the skull at the midline
Some babies with encephaloceles have other problems with their skulls and brains. These accompanying symptoms and conditions may include:
Too much cerebrospinal fluid in parts of their brains .
Very small Head .
Delayed growth and development.
Difficulties in learning.
Spasticity or other movement disorders.
when a baby is born, doctors can see an encephalocele in an affected baby. In some cases when the encephalocele is small, it may be not be seen right away. These small encephaloceles are usually located in the area of the baby's nose, forehead and sinuses.Doctors think the genes a baby inherits might play a role in causing an encephalocele. The condition happens more often in families that have a history of neural tube defects called spina bifida and anencephaly.
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