What Is Cystic Encephalomalacia?

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Cystic encephalomalacia is a softening of neurological tissue within a cystic cavity of the brain that is typically caused by an insufficient blood supply, according to Dictionary.com. It is typically caused by injury, inflammation or infection.

As Neuroradiology Cases points out, the type of injury that causes cystic encephalomalacia can sometimes be determined by an MRI. The temporal and parietal brain lobes are the likely region of cystic encephalomalacia when the cause is an obstruction of blood flow due to a hemorrhage, such as that experienced during a stroke.

The University of Rochester Medical Center explains that multicystic encephalomalacia can occur in newborns and infants when multiple cystic cavities are found in their brains. This most often occurs after an injury that causes hypoxia and ischemia. This type of trauma usually occurs at birth and is typically due to asphyxia.

According to Wikipedia, there are three types of encephalomalacia, or brain softening. Red softening occurs in the event of a hemorrhage, usually of the middle cerebral artery. White softening occurs in areas of the brain that experience little or no blood flow and therefore come to contain dead neural tissue. Yellow softening is a result of athersclerotic plaque building up in the arteries of the brain combined with yellow lymph.