Placements of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) shunt are commonly used to treat hydrocephalus. These shunt systems drain excess fluid from the brain to the other part of the body where the fluid is absorbed as part of the circulatory process. The swelling of the brain due to excess buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a medical procedure that relieves pressure on the brain that is caused by fluid accumulation. The procedure is done when there is too much pressure in the brain caused due to CSF accumulation, a medical condition called hydrocephalus. It mostly occurs in babies and older adults.
Normally, cerebrospinal fluid flows through the ventricles of the brain, thereby immersing the brain and spinal cord in it and eventually gets absorbed in the blood. When this normal flow is interrupted, it causes fluid accumulation and puts harmful pressure on brain tissues. VP Shunt drains fluid from the brain to other parts of the body where the fluid is absorbed.
This surgery is recommended to patients those who have swelling, cysts, tumors, or inflammation in the brain due to excess buildup of cerebrospinal fluid. Excess fluid occurs mainly due to
Some of the common symptoms include visible increase in the size of head, poor appetite, frequent headaches and seizures, loss in memory and poor co-ordination between thoughts and actions.
Before the surgery your surgeon will recommend you to:
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia by an experienced neurosurgeon, and usually it takes around 90 minutes. First your surgeon will put a small cut behind the ear and another in the belly, after administering the anesthesia. Then your surgeon will drill a small hole in the skull and pass a catheter into a ventricle of the brain. After that another catheter is placed under the skin behind the ear and is made to travel to the chest and abdomen. A pump (valve) is attached to both catheters and placed behind the ear. When the pressure in the skull increases, this pump will help in automatically removing the fluid into the belly area.
Once the procedure is finished; the patient is required to stay in the hospital for almost a week. The doctor and his team closely monitor the patient’s vitals. The patient is taught how to take care of the shunt at home and how to prevent any infection from developing. In babies, the shunt needs to be replaced after 2 years while in older adults, it has to be replaced after 8 years.
Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunt Surgery might have the following risks and complications:
You can get back to your normal activities when your doctor tells you its okay. If you plan to exercise, it’s better to consult your doctor if it’s safe. You will also have regular visits with your neurologist, neurosurgeon, or both. They will keep a check on the function of your Cerebrospinal Fluid shunt over time. If you have any additional questions, talk to our doctors.