Encephalomalacia: Types, Cause, Symptoms, Treatment


Encephalomalacia, also called cerebromalacia or cerebral softening, refers to the softness or degeneration of brain tissue caused by impairment of the blood supply.

According to the affected part of the brain, it can be divided into two types:

  • leukoencephalomalacia (encephalomalacia affecting the white matter)
  • polioencephalomalacia (encephalomalacia affecting the gray matter)

According to the colors and stages of damage, it can be classified into three types:

  • red softening
  • yellow softening
  • white softening


Encephalomalacia may result from various diseases and health problems, including:

  • stroke
  • head injury that may lead to bleeding or hemorrhage into the brain
  • severe swelling in the brain that interrupts cerebral blood flow
  • removal of tumors from within the brain that have infested and destroyed surrounding tissues


Signs and symptoms of encephalomalacia include:

  • somnolence
  • blindness
  • headache
  • ataxia
  • head pressing
  • head spinning (vertigo)
  • terminal coma


Diagnosis of encephalomalacia is usually through imaging tests like MRI and CT scans.


Encephalomalacia can be treated after detecting the underlying causes of the change in the brain mass or consistency.

Moreover, removal of the softened brain material may be needed in severe cases.


If encephalomalacia occurs in an infant, the prognosis is poor. Under most circumstances, the infant cannot be saved. The situation is better for adult patients, especially when encephalomalacia is early detected.

Keywords: encephalomalacia; cerebromalacia; cerebral softening.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.