Encephalomalacia refers to softening of the brain’s tissue due to hemorrhage or inflammation. It is one of the most serious types of brain injury. It can affect specific parts of the brain, or can be more widespread, and encephalomalacia can lead to complete dysfunction of the part of the brain that is affected.
There are various subtypes of encephalomalacia, and it can affect any age group and infants in utero. Leukoencephalomalacia affects the white matter of the brain, which is primarily the coating of the neurons, and polioencephalomalacia affects the neurons themselves, or the grey matter.
Encephalomalacia can be caused by stroke, or by severe brain swelling that interrupts cerebral blood flow. Removal of tumors may leave areas of brain softening, but one preventable cause is serious head trauma.
Head Trauma Causing Encephalomalacia
If one suffers a serious head trauma — such as in a motor vehicle accident or fall from a construction site — that person may sustain a severe traumatic brain injury, including encephalomalacia. Signs and symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, ataxia, sleepiness or coma. Encephalomalacia can be diagnosed by stroke or MRI.
It is difficult to treat encephalomalacia. It is not possible to cure, as destroyed brain tissue cannot be regenerated. Treatment consists of detecting the underlying cause and treating it. Severely damaged brain tissue may be removed by surgery. This may, however, contribute to a change in consistency of the surrounding brain tissue. It is difficult to determine if the affected parts of the brain can ever be functional after encephalomalcia has been treated.
Encephalomalacia after head trauma is a serious condition with lifelong consequences and residual disability or even death from a terminal coma. If you or a loved one has suffered encephalomalacia as the result of head trauma, you may have lifelong medical expenses and lost wages, and most importantly, severe lifelong disability.
If you have suffered brain trauma as the result of someone’s negligence, call Passen & Powell at 312-527-4500 for a Free Evaluation.