hydrocephalus surgery


Hydrocephalus is an abnormal build-up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles inside the brain. The ventricles are fluid-filled spaces in the brain. CSF is a clear, colourless fluid that looks like water and contains small amounts of salt, sugar, and cells.

Signs of hydrocephalus in a child

Your child may have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tired (sleeping more than usual, difficult to wake up, does not want to play as usual)
  • seeming irritable
  • changes in personality, behaviour, or school performance
  • loss of coordination
  • seizures
  • changes in vision


Treatment of Hydrocephalus

There are no effective medicines for hydrocephalus. Most children require surgery. The goal is to lessen the pressure in the brain by providing another pathway for CSF to be drained and absorbed away from the brain.

There are two types of surgery for hydrocephalus:

  • The most common treatment is the insertion of a shunt. The shunt works by moving fluid from an area where there is too much CSF to an area where it can be absorbed into the body.
  • Some children with non-communicating hydrocephalus can have surgery called an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). This surgery creates an opening to allow CSF to flow in and around the brain as it should.
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