By Gary M. White, MD

An encephalocele is a herniation of the brain and meninges through a developmental anomaly of the skull. Herniation of the meninges only is called a meningocele. Encephaloceles may pulsate and enlarge with compression of the jugular vein, crying, or the Valsalva maneuver. These lesions are usually midline or paramidline. CT scan should be done preoperatively.


A congenital nodule which may vary from 1 cm to the size of the head is characteristic of a meningocele or an encephalocele. Bullous lesions may occur (see below).


Immediate referral to a specialist is in order. Neurosurgical repair should be done as soon as possible.


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