Iniencephaly: clinical, radiological and surgical findings

Pediatr Neurosurg. 2010;46(4):290-3. doi: 10.1159/000320145. Epub 2010 Dec 30.


The authors report a case of iniencephaly in a 6-year-old boy with a huge occipital bone defect and encephalocele, extensive spina bifida of the cervical vertebrae and fixed retroflexion of the head due to Sprengel's deformity. He presented with some cerebellar and cranial nerve symptoms and new episodes of neck pain and drop attacks. Brain imaging confirmed progressive deformity of the brain stem, cerebellar herniation into the encephalocele sac and ventriculomegaly. Surgical repair of the encephalocele was performed with preservation of all herniated cerebellar tissue and the release of thick arachnoid adhesions to make more space to return the herniated neural tissue from the sac to the cranium. The patient was found to have progressive facial palsy and intracranial hypertension 3 days after surgery, which improved with ventriculoperitoneal shunting. Iniencephaly is generally a fatal anomaly, and only 7 such patients have been reported to have survived. Because of the fatality of this anomaly, prenatal diagnosis of iniencephly and pregnancy termination are important. The patient presented herein is only the second patient with iniencephaly and encephalocele to be operated on. The severity of associated systemic and cranial abnormalities is fundamental with regard to survival. Essential points for surgery are preparing enough space to save herniated functional neural tissues, management of associated hydrocephalus and brain stem rotation/compression due to decreased postoperative space. In the surviving child, early correction of Sprengel's deformity would provide a better aesthetic position of the neck with preservation of brachial plexus integrity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum / abnormalities
  • Cerebellum / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Child
  • Congenital Abnormalities / diagnostic imaging
  • Congenital Abnormalities / pathology
  • Encephalocele / diagnostic imaging*
  • Encephalocele / pathology
  • Encephalocele / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Occipital Bone / abnormalities*
  • Occipital Bone / diagnostic imaging
  • Occipital Bone / surgery*
  • Scapula / abnormalities
  • Scapula / diagnostic imaging
  • Scapula / pathology
  • Shoulder Joint / abnormalities
  • Shoulder Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Joint / pathology
  • Spina Bifida Cystica / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spina Bifida Cystica / pathology
  • Spina Bifida Cystica / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Supplementary concepts

  • Sprengel deformity