Denouement and Discussion
A cystic mass, an encephalocele, is present in the midline of this newborn infant's cleft hard palate.
Encephaloceles are herniations of brain and meninges through midline developmental anomalies of the skull. The defect occurs when the anterior portion of the neuropore fails to fuse, approximately at the 25th day of gestation.1 Encephaloceles are classified according to the tissue contained in the lesion. When only meninges protrude through the defect, the lesion is called a meningocele. With the addition of brain tissue, the lesion is called an encephalomeningocele or encephalocele. Encephalomeningocystoceles contain brain, meninges, and part of the ventricular system.Eighty percent of encephaloceles occur in the posterior portion of the cranial vault. Anterior encephaloceles are divided into sincipital (frontoethmoidal) and basal lesions. The sincipital