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Encephalocele


An encephalocele is when the skull does not close completely, and a part of the brain may extend into a sac. Or, the defect may contain some of the brain’s cover (meninges) and cerebrospinal fluid. Normally, a fetus’s central nervous system develops inside the neural tube. When this tube does not close properly, an encephalocele is the result. Either skin or a thin membrane covers the defect.

An encephalocele can happen in the base of the skull, in the area of the nose, sinuses and forehead, and from the top of the skull around to the back of the skull in the midline. This is a rare defect. It only occurs in about one of 5,000 live births worldwide. The rate may be even lower in North America .