Encephalocele

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[edit] Discussion of Encephalocele

  • Intracranial tissue that herniates through a defect in the cranium results in an encephalocele.
    • Such lesions are called meningoceles when they contain only meninges
    • Called meningoencephaloceles if brain tissue is included in the herniated tissue.
  • They occur in one of every 4,000 live births.
  • Most commonly occipital in location (75% of cases).
  • Other locations: frontoethmoidal in 15% of cases and basal in 10%.
  • Surgery is the treatment used for encephaloceles.



  • Frontoethmoidal encephaloceles are more common in South and Southeast Asian populations.
  • Frontoethmoidal encephaloceles manifest as a clinically visible mass along the nose.
  • The intracranial root of most frontoethmoidal encephaloceles lies at the foramen cecum, a small ostium located at the bottom of a small depression anterior to the crista galli and formed by the closure of the frontal and ethmoid bones.


  • Basal encephaloceles are internal and are not generally externally visible, although they may manifest as a lump or bump in the oropharynx or nasopharynx.

[edit] Imaging Findings for Encephalocele

  • MR imaging is the best imaging modality for defining the contents of an encephalocele prior to surgery.
  • High-resolution CT may also be used to display the bone anatomy, but the intracranial connection is best defined with MR imaging.
  • The extent of cerebral tissue in an encephalocele is also better defined with MR imaging, which aids in prognosis and surgical planning.


[edit] Images

Patient #1: Fetal MRI images demonstrate an encephalocele

[edit] See Also

[edit] External Links

[edit] References for Encephalocele