The medical term Encephalomalacia refers to a softening of the brain tissue due to haemorrhage or inflammation. It is an indicator of one of the most serious types of brain injury and can affect any part of the brain (frontal, occipital, parietal, and temporal lobe), which can lead to complete dysfunction of the affected area in the brain.
Encephalomalacia can be caused by stroke or by severe brain swelling that interrupts cerebral blood flow. Signs and symptoms include severe headaches, dizziness, vertigo, memory loss and mood swings (if the frontal lobe of the brain is affected), diminished coordination, visual impairment, amongst others. Symptoms can vary from person to person, often presenting unique challenges depending on the severity and extent of the brain damage. Encephalomalacia can be diagnosed by CT and MRI scan.
Traumatic brain injury is one of the preventable causes of Encephalomalacia. Unfortunately, unlike the liver, brain tissue does not have an ability to regenerate. Therefore, Encephalomalacia is an indicator of permanent brain damage and is incurable. Treatment consists of detecting the underlying cause of treating it. Severely damaged brain tissue may be removed by surgery, however, this can contribute to change in the surrounding brain tissue.
Encephalomalacia after head trauma is a very serious condition with potentially lifelong consequences and residual motor, sensory and cognitive deficits.
For more information, check out our ‘Brain and Head Injury Fact Sheet’.
To start the conversation, please contact Ronan Hynes, Partner or a member of our Serious Injury Team on 061 432 348 or by email at [email protected].