Schizencephaly is an extremely rare disorder. It causes abnormal slits, or clefts, in the brain's cerebral hemispheres. Schizencephaly is a form of porencephaly. This is a condition in which there is a cyst or cavity in the cerebral hemispheres. Individuals with clefts in both hemispheres (bilateral clefts) are commonly:

  • Developmentally delayed

  • Have delayed speech and language skills.

  • Have corticospinal dysfunction.

Patients with smaller, unilateral clefts (clefts in only one hemisphere):

  • Are often paralyzed on one side of the body.

  • May have normal intelligence.

Patients with schizencephaly may also have varying degrees of:

  • Abnormally small head.

  • Mental retardation.

  • Hemiparesis partial paralysis.

  • Complete paralysis.

  • Reduced muscle tone.

  • Most patients have seizures.

  • Some may have hydrocephalus.


Treatment generally consists of:

  • Physical therapy.

  • Treatment for seizures.

In cases that are complicated by hydrocephalus, a shunt is used. A shunt is a surgically implanted tube that diverts fluid from one pathway to another