Merck Manual

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Stephen J. Falchek

, MD, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Last full review/revision Dec 2018| Content last modified Dec 2018
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Anencephaly is absence of the cerebral hemispheres.

The absent brain is sometimes replaced by malformed cystic neural tissue, which may be exposed or covered with skin. Parts of the brain stem and spinal cord may be missing or malformed. Infants are stillborn or die within days or weeks.

Treatment of anencephaly is palliative only.

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