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Doctor insights on: How Do You Take Care Of A Child With A Shunt For Hydrocephalus

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How do you take care of a child with a shunt for hydrocephalus?

How do you take care of a child with a shunt for hydrocephalus?

Normally: As long as the shunt functions well, ther essentially is nothing that needs done other than to treat your child normally, with perhaps some care to avoid situations where there may be head trauma. ...Read more

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Shunt (Definition)

Device that allows the flow of usually a fluid between two places. Sometimes a shunt may be used during carotid endarterectomy surgery to maintain the blood flow to the brain while the carotid artery ...Read more


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Can a child stop needing a shunt for hydrocephalus?

Can a child stop needing a shunt for hydrocephalus?

Possible: It is possible for the hydrocephaly to slowly resolve and not re-occur. It certainly depends what caused the hydrocephaly in the first place. It is more common to slowly resolve if it was caused by a blled in the brain when the baby was premature. Less likely if the cuase is a physical restriction of the flow of CSF as in dandy-walker cyst or arnold chiari defect. ...Read more

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In a baby with hydrocephalus and after shunting will the child need a new shunt next year or two?

In a baby with hydrocephalus and after shunting will the child need a new shunt next year or two?

Possibly: If the shunt stops working (shunt failure), it will need to be revised. This often entails placing a completely new shunt system or a partial new system. It is impossible to predict exactly when this will happen, but the general risk of shunt failure is 10% per year. The shunt may also need to be lengthened as the child grows. All of the above possibilities entail a surgical procedure. ...Read more

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What do parents have to know about the shunt placed on their child for hydrocephalus?

What do parents have to know about the shunt placed on their child for hydrocephalus?

As much as possible: Much of the information can be obtained from the neurosurgeon that placed the shunt. It is good to keep a record with you because people move/travel. Some of the basic information you should have includes: reason for the shunt, type of shunt (including model/ company brand), where does the shunt go (ie. Brain to abdomen vs. To pleura), is the shunt MRI safe? A copy of a baseline ct scan is useful. ...Read more

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How long does it take for an adult to recover from shunt surgery for hydrocephalus?

Week: If the shunt is working appropritely then the intial symptoms , ie headache, ataxia, bladder issues will resolve quickly. The obdominal incision whether open or laparoscopic will become increasingly pain free over that same week. ...Read more

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Will the brain reject a shunt for hydrocephalus?

Typically not: The shunt tubing in the brain is made of silastic, which is relatively inert and non-reactive. The brain and soft tissue can form scars around the catheter or tubing, but it won't "reject" the tubing in the normal sense. ...Read more

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How does a shunt work to treat hydrocephalus?

How does a shunt work to treat hydrocephalus?

Relieves csf: A shunt diverts CSF that is accumulating in the spaces of the brain called ventricles to the abdominal space. Normally the CSF which is produced in the ventricles exists through small pores in the ventricles to circulate the brain and down the spinal cord. If those pores are blocked or the CSF can not drain to the spinal cord, then it accumulates in the ventricles and decrease brain tissue. ...Read more

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How dangerous is having a shunt put in for hydrocephalus?

Common procedure: While untoward outcomes may occur with any surgery, shunt placement is one of the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedures. The surgery entails passing a tube or catheter into the brain. Another catheter is passed under the scalp and skin and into the abdomen. Joining the two catheters is a pressure regulatory valve. This serves to divert fluid into the abdomen where it can be absorbed. ...Read more

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Dr. James Goodrich
703 doctors shared insights

Hydrocephalus (Definition)

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition in which there is swelling of the brain and fluid build up in the skull. Symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, altered ...Read more