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Health Information For Parents
Hydrocephalus is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the hollow places inside the brain. These hollow places are called ventricles. The buildup of CSF can put pressure on the brain.
Treatments for hydrocephalus (hi-droh-SEF-eh-less) usually can lower the amount of CSF.
Signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus in babies and children can include:
Babies younger than 1 year old still have their “soft spot” because their skull bones have not fully grown together yet. In them, hydrocephalus usually leads to bulging at the soft spot, increasing head size, and large scalp veins.
Older children with hydrocephalus usually complain of headache.
A child can:
Hydrocephalus can run in families.
Cerebrospinal fluid is saltwater that’s made inside the ventricles. It flows around the brain and spinal cord, cushioning them. It also sends nutrients to the brain and takes away waste. Then it’s absorbed into the bloodstream, and new, fresh CSF takes its place.
Hydrocephalus can happen if:
Causes of hydrocephalus include:
Doctors diagnose hydrocephalus by:
Treatment for hydrocephalus depends on the child’s age and what’s causing the hydrocephalus.
Treatments may include one of these surgeries:
Kids also might need therapy for slowed development, such as:
Your child needs your care and support. Treatment for hydrocephalus is successful in many children. But most need more than one surgery and ongoing medical care.
To help your child get the best treatment:
A VP shunt is a small plastic tube that helps drain extra cerebrospinal fluid from the brain. Most VP shunts are placed to treat hydrocephalus.
Encephalitis is a rare brain inflammation caused by a virus. The best way to avoid encephalitis is to prevent the illnesses that may lead to it.
Abusive head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States. It happens when someone shakes an infant.
Head injuries can be external or internal. Learn more about both kinds, how to prevent them, and what to do if your child is injured.
Many kids with this brain condition aren’t bothered by it. Those who have symptoms can often find relief with medicines or surgery.
Spina bifida is a birth defect that involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord or its coverings. It’s usually detected before a baby is born and treated right away.
The brain controls everything we do, and is often likened to the central computer within a vast, complicated communication network, working at lightning speed.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe and painless test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the body’s organs and structures.
Doctors order head ultrasounds when there’s a concern about neurological problems in an infant.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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