What is the treatment?
Although each child’s treatment plan is unique, surgical repair is essential to avoid infection or further injury to the brain tissue. Often, the procedure involves removal or reduction of the herniated tissue, membranes, and repair of any bone involved.
After surgical repair, neurologic deficits caused by the encephalocele or other brain abnormalities (when present) will remain. Other abnormalities may also be corrected through surgery, especially hydrocephalus. If hydrocephalus is present, a special drain, called a shunt, may need to be placed from the skull to the abdomen to remove the fluid and prevent pressure from damaging the brain.
Each child’s prognosis depends on the amount of tissue in the sac that needs to be removed, and the function of the remaining tissue and intracranial structures. In some cases, children will need multiple surgeries. If a child has other genetic or developmental concerns, this can also impact their prognosis.
What are the possible complications of an encephalocele
- Delayed development
- Feeding difficulties
- Water on the brain (hydrocephalus)
- Breathing problems
- Hearing problems
- Vision problems
- Smaller than normal head
- Weakness of the arms and legs
- Stiffness of the arms and legs
- Learning difficulties
- Abnormally wide-set eyes
- Repeated respiratory tract infections