What is the definition of Encephalocele Anencephaly?
Encephalocele and anencephaly are both rare neural tube birth defects. The neural tube contains the beginnings of the brain and spinal cord in the developing fetus. Encephalocele is a neural tube birth defect that affects the brain and causes a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its membranes that cover it through an opening in the skull, usually through the back of the head.
Anencephaly is a neural tube defect that affects the brain and skull bones in which the brain is not fully formed, there is no bone on the back and/or the front and sides of the head, and all or part of the cerebrum is absent. The cerebrum is the area of the brain used for thinking, seeing, hearing, touch, and movement.
In extremely rare instances, both encephalocele and anencephaly can be present, such as in the case of conjoined twins.
What are the symptoms for Encephalocele Anencephaly?
Symptoms of encephalocele include a sac-like protrusion of the brain and its membranes through an opening in the skull, an abnormally small head, fluid accumulation in the brain (hydrocephalus), paralysis of the limbs, uncoordinated muscles, vision problems, growth and developmental delays, and seizures.
Symptoms of anencephaly include missing bones on the back, front, or sides of the head, folding of the ears, large parts of the brain that are absent, cleft palate, and heart defects. Anencephaly leads to death in a few days or weeks.
What are the current treatments for Encephalocele Anencephaly?
Treatment for encephalocele involves surgery to close the opening in the skull. Depending on the severity of the condition, long-term treatment for head and facial defects and associated symptoms may be necessary.
There is no treatment for anencephaly, and it is a fatal condition.
Taking folic acid in prenatal vitamins during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of having a child with encephalocele, anencephaly, or other neural tube defects.