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Brain, Nervous System and Mental Conditions

Encephalocele

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Encephalocele treatment in most cases is surgery to put the part of the brain that is outside the skull back into place and close the opening. Neurosurgeons often can repair even large encephaloceles without causing your baby to lose further ability to function.

Surgery for Encephalocele

Usually, neurosurgeons repair encephaloceles within the first few months of your baby's life. If skin covers your baby's encephalocele, giving it some protection, the neurosurgeon may recommend waiting for a few months. If there is no skin protecting the encephalocele, your baby's neurosurgeon may recommend surgery soon after birth.

While treating an encephalocele, neurosurgeons perform an operation called craniotomy. This allows them to get to your child's brain. During a craniotomy, the neurosurgeon cuts and removes a piece of bone from the skull. Next, the neurosurgeon cuts the tough membrane that protects the brain (dura mater).

To treat an encephalocele, the neurosurgeon then replaces the brain tissue and any membranes or fluids that have come out of the gap in the skull. They remove the sac that surrounded it. Then the neurosurgeon closes the dura mater. They close up the skull using the same piece of bone they removed, if possible. If there is a large hole in the skull, the neurosurgeon may use an artificial plate to repair the area.

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Summer 2014: Good Growing Newsletter

In This Issue

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Download Summer 2014 (PDF)