How is Hydrocephalus treated?
Here at Connecticut Children’s, our pediatric neurosurgeons have expertise in using several techniques to treat hydrocephalus:
A shunt, the most common method for treating hydrocephalus, is surgically implanted to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the ventricles of the brain to another area of the body—the abdomen, typically—where it will be absorbed by your child’s body.
A shunt has 3 parts:
- A short catheter (a thin, flexible tube) draining fluid from the brain into the valve
- A one-way valve with a reservoir sitting under the scalp
- A long catheter draining fluid from the valve into a body cavity
There are a variety of different shunt valves. The two main types are programmable valves and non-programmable valves:
Programmable shunt valve
- Shunt setting can be externally adjusted with the use of a special magnetic device
- Keep away from toys with magnets and other sources of magnetic fields
- Shunt will need to be reprogrammed following MRIs. No precautions needed for CT scans or X-rays
Non-programmable shunt valve
- Unable to adjust the setting after placed. Your child’s surgeon will determine the proper setting prior to implanting
- No precautions needed with magnetic objects
- No precautions needed for MRIs, CT scans or X-rays
Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) surgery eliminates the need for a shunt in some children, especially those who have a blockage in their cerebrospinal fluid pathways. During an ETV, our neurosurgeons use a small camera to make a hole in the bottom of the brain’s third ventricle in order to provide an internal bypass for the fluid.