Cranial and Cerebral Defects

Anencephaly, an extreme form of a dysraphic state, often leads to spontaneous abortion. The cranial vault is absent. The brain is absent or rudimentary; instead, a friable red mass of tissue contains thin-walled vascular channels and neural elements (area cerebrovasculosa) (Fig. 13.2). The anencephaly is associated with total or partial absence of the spinal cord, facial anomalies, and malformations of the visceral organs. Meningoencephalocele consists of the protrusion of the meninges and

figure 13.2

Anencephaly and amyelia in a stillborn fetus. Posterior view. The calvarium is partially absent. The skull base is covered with brown soft tissue (area cerebrovasculosa), the spinal canal is open, and the spinal cord is absent.

figure 13.2

Anencephaly and amyelia in a stillborn fetus. Posterior view. The calvarium is partially absent. The skull base is covered with brown soft tissue (area cerebrovasculosa), the spinal canal is open, and the spinal cord is absent.

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portion of the brain through a congenital defect in the skull, commonly in the occiput. The protruded portion may include the occipital lobes, cerebellum, and portion of the brainstem (Fig. 13.3). Less common sites are the parietal and frontal regions and the cranial base.

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