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Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt for Hydrocephalus

Overview

During this surgical procedure, a small drainage tube is implanted to relieve the pressure of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is a condition that develops when excess cerebrospinal fluid builds up within the ventricles of the brain.

Preparation

In preparation for the procedure, the patient is positioned and anesthesia is administered. A portion of the scalp is shaved, and the surgeon creates an incision in the scalp.

Inserting the Catheters

The surgeon creates a small hole in the skull. A tube called a catheter is inserted into the hole and carefully guided into a ventricle in the brain. A second catheter is inserted under the scalp and pushed downward, just under the skin, through the neck and chest. A few small incisions may need to be made along its route. The end of this catheter may be inserted into the abdomen, or it may be inserted into the heart.

Attaching the Valve

The surgeon connects both catheters to a valve placed beneath the scalp. This valve will regulate the amount of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, allowing excess fluid to drain out of the brain and down into the abdominal cavity (or heart) to be absorbed and eliminated from the body.

End of Procedure and Aftercare

The incisions are closed with sutures, and bandages are applied. A hospital stay of a few days may be necessary.