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Doctor insights on: How Does A Shunt Work To Treat Hydrocephalus

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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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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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What's are the difference between the three available programmable shunts commonly used to treat hydrocephalus?

What's are the difference between the three available programmable shunts commonly used to treat hydrocephalus?

Several Differences: Several differences exist. One the number of pressure settings, available to program, another is the ability to tolerate exposure to mri. Finally, the ability to 'virtually shut the device off' by using a high pressure setting is another feature present that may or may not be present in a given device. Disclosure: i work for one of the companies that make these devices. ...Read more

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Is it possible for the enlargement of the head be reversed, either surgically or not, after the hydrocephalus is treated with a shunt?

Is it possible for the enlargement of the head be reversed, either surgically or not, after the hydrocephalus is treated with a shunt?

Depends: This depends on whether or not the sutures of the head are fused. If you are 46yo with hydrocephalus and receive a shunt, it is not likely that the head size will reverse. The sutures of the head are usually fused by the age of 2 years and it is not possible to "shrink" the skull. I am not aware of any safe surgery done to correct this. ...Read more

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I have a vp shunt for Hydrocephalus and if I have shunt malfunction and if I don't get treated right away what would happen to me?

HEADACHE: will be the first thing you notice with a shunt malfunction. Then you will loose coordination, vomit, have visual problems, lose consciousness and if you continue to be untreated you will build up enough pressure for your brainstem to be pushed through the base of the skull and your breathing will stop. ...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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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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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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Are there any options other than a shunt to help with hydrocephalus ?

Possibly.: Hydrocephalus is caused by a blockage in cerebrospinal fluid flow. Depending on exactly where the blockage is, it might be amenable to an endoscopic 3rd ventriculostomy, where a small hole is punctured in the floor of the third ventricle to relieve the blockage. No external shunt is needed in these cases. If the blockage is in the wrong area however, this will not work. ...Read more

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Are there tests to see if I still have hydrocephalus? I have a shunt.

CT & Neuro tests: Generally, hydrocephalus poses specific neurologic signs & symptoms (Sx), which lead 2 testing. Dilated ventricles (fluid sacs in brain) can b seen on CT scan. U may have "frozen ventricle" meaning an abnormal CT scan w/o Sx; or shunt malfunction w/ Sx. If u r having symptoms like when u were 1st diagnosed, TTY neurologist, who can perform specific neurologic tests (tandem walk, etc.) 4 diagnosis. ...Read more

Dr. James Goodrich
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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