Conditions + Treatments

Encephaloceles in Children

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Contact the Cleft and Craniofacial Center

What is Encephalocele?

Encephalocele is a rare type of neural tube defect (NTD) in which brain membranes (the tissue that covers the brain) protrude through openings in the skull. It is present at birth. The neural tube is a narrow channel that folds and closes to form the brain and spinal cord. An Encephalocele forms when the neural tube does not close properly during gestation. The cause is unknown.

The severity of encephalocele varies, depending on its location.

Encephaloceles are generally classified into the following categories based on where they occur and what they involve:

  • Nasofrontal: The nose and the forehead
  • Nasoethmoidal: The nose and sinus
  • Naso-orbital: The nose and eye
  • Meningocele: If the bulging portion contains only cerebrospinal fluid and the overlaying membrane
  • Encephalomeningocele: If brain tissue is also involved

Why Choose Boston Children’s Hospital for Treatment of Encephalocele

Having a child born with an encephalocele may feel over¬whelming. Knowing your child will likely require surgery is a lot for any parent to process. We hope you find comfort knowing that the Craniofacial Program at Boston Children’s Hospital Is a national leader in the treatment of children with craniofacial conditions. We are renowned for our extensive experience, surgical expertise, and commitment to innovative and compassionate care.

Families seeking the very best care for their child come to Boston Children’s for our:

  • Nationally recognized care: U.S.News & World Report ranks Boston Children's Hospital higher in more specialties—including neurosurgery—than any other children's hospital in the country.
  • Surgical expertise: Our surgeons are experience in multiple surgical techniques, allowing us to develop a specific treatment plan to best fit your child’s individual needs. Learn more about encephalocele treatment.
  • Research and innovation: Our clinicians are involved in research that moves us closer to a better understanding of—and treatment for—all deformities of the head and face. Learn more about our craniofacial research.
  • Team approach: Our Craniofacial Program includes some of the world’s most experienced neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons, oral and maxillofacial (jaw) specialists, dentistry professionals, psychologists and social workers—all working together to address the many needs of your child and your entire family. Meet our craniofacial team.

Make an Appointment

For an appointment with the Cleft and Craniofacial Center, more information or to obtain a second opinion for your child, please call us at 617-355-6309 or email our program coordinator,

International Patients

For families residing outside of the United States, please call Boston Children's International Health Services at +01-617-355-5209.

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