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An encephalocele is a region of herniated brain. The term meningocele refers to herniated dura (covering of the brain).

Etiology for Encephalocele/Meningocele

The brain and/or dura can herniate into the mastoid bone. There are four explanations for this anomaly.  First, there may have been a congenital (present since birth) bony defect in the base of the skull when the cranial base was forming.  With time and continued pulsations of the brain, the brain and/or dura can herniate through these openings.  Secondly, a portion of the bone at the base of the brain may have been surgically removed during a previous operation.  Again, with continued pulsations of the brain, these openings can enlarge, allowing herniation. Thirdly, severe head injury can lead to a loss of this bony partition. Lastly, a chronic middle ear and mastoid infection can also cause erosion of the bony partition.

About Dr. Prasad

Dr. Sanjay Prasad MD FACS is a board certified physician and surgeon with over thirty-two years of sub-specialty experience in Otology, Neurotology, advanced head and neck oncologic surgery, and cranial base surgery. He is chief surgeon and founder of the private practice, Metropolitan NeuroEar Group, located in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.