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    Encephalocele

    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.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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