Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
The congenital form of hydrocephalus is believed to occur at an incidence of approximately one to four out of every 1,000 births. The incidence of acquired hydrocephalus is not exactly known. The peak ages for the development of hydrocephalus are in...
infancy, between four and eight years, and in early adulthood. Normal pressure hydrocephalus generally occurs in patients over the age of 60.
Ventricular shunt is a surgical procedure in which a tube is placed in one of the fluid-filled chambers inside the brain (ventricles). The fluid around the brain and the spinal column is called the cerebrospinal fluid. When infection or disease causes an excess of this cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, the shunt is placed to drain it and thereby relieve excess pressure.
Ventricular shunt relieves hydrocephalus, a condition in which the ventricles are enlarged. In hydrocephalus, pressure from the cerebrospinal fluid usually increases. It may be caused by tumor of the brain or of the membranes covering the brain (meninges), infection of or bleeding into the cerebrospinal fluid, or inborn malformations of the brain. Symptoms of hydrocephalus may include headache, personality disturbances and loss of intellectual abilities (dementia), problems in walking, irritability, vomiting, abnormal eye movements, or a low level of consciousness.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus is associated with progressive dementia, problems in walking, and loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence). Even though the cerebrospinal fluid is not thought to be under increased pressure in this condition, it may also be treated by ventricular shunting.
Surgery for removal is generally advised for patients with limited cancer elsewhere in the body and a single brain metastasis.
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