Hydrocephalus is a disease, which is characterized by the presence of excessive fluid in the brain. More and more pressure is exerted on the brain, leading to damage to this vital organ. While hydrocephalus in babies is a well-known condition, there are also cases of hydrocephalus in adults, especially elderly ones. Currently, there are two basic hydrocephalus treatments: brain shunt and ETV neurosurgery.
Hydrocephalus Treatment Candidates
Hydrocephalus in babies is easily detected due to changes in the shape of their heads. Since their skull bones are not totally connected, hydrocephalus becomes visible in short time. As for hydrocephalus in adults, it may manifest itself through headaches and steady impairment to one’s brain functions. However, it is necessary for a neurologist to give a proper diagnosis.
Am I Suitable for Hydrocephalus Treatment?
If you do experience hydrocephalus symptoms such as headaches and nausea combined with slowly increasing impairment to brain functions, it is suggested to schedule a visit to a specialist. Your doctor will estimate whether you do in a fact suffer from hydrocephalus and can undergo hydrocephalus treatment such as brain shunt or ETV neurosurgery.
Preparing for Hydrocephalus Treatment
There is no specific preparation for hydrocephalus treatment. You will be asked to inform about all medical conditions you have, together with medicines you take on a regular basis. For a few days before hydrocephalus operation, you cannot take blood-thinners such as aspirin.
How is Hydrocephalus Treatment Performed?
There are two main types of hydrocephalus treatment: brain shunt and ETV neurosurgery.
• Brain shunt is a tube leading from patient’s brain to their abdomen, aiming at draining excessive fluid in the brain. In this way, the pressure exerted by the fluid on the brain will decrease and the patient may continue to enjoy a good quality life.
• ETV neurosurgery (endoscopic third ventriculostomy) is an operation performed in the case of obstructive hydrocephalus. Obstructive hydrocephalus is a type of hydrocephalus, where fluid in the brain cannot leave it due to blockage. With ETV neurosurgery, doctors attempt at removing this blockage by using endoscope.
Hydrocephalus Treatment Summary
Duration of Operation
Up to one week
Back to Work
Up to the case
Up to one week
Number of Trips Abroad
Hydrocephalus Treatment Recovery
Immediate hydrocephalus treatment recovery is quite short. After a few days from shunt surgery or ETV, neurosurgery patient may leave the hospital. As for correct brain functions, their recovery depends on the amount of damage caused by hydrocephalus and one’s brain’s capability to heal. These may be induced by rehabilitation process. As the time pass, brain shunt or hole created during ETV neurosurgery may be blocked and another brain surgery may be deemed necessary.
Hydrocephalus Treatment Risks and Complications
There are some risks connected to hydrocephalus treatment. In the case of brain shunt, there is a small possibility of infection as well as blockage of brain shunt. As for ETV neurosurgery, the hole created by specialists may be blocked. There is also a small possibility of infection (smaller than in brain shunt), nerve damage and internal bleeding, which in extreme cases may be fatal. However, these risks are worth taking since untreated hydrocephalus leads to damage to patient’s brain and in consequence – to death.
Hydrocephalus Treatment Side Effects
The necessity of regular control of brain shunt as well as hole created in one’s brain during ETV neurosurgery is the most important side effect of these hydrocephalus treatments. Apart from this, there aren’t any significant side effects.
Hydrocephalus Treatment Success Rates
The success rate of brain shunt surgery is estimated at around 80%. The success rate of ETV neurosurgery is even higher but unfortunately not every patient can undergo this type of hydrocephalus surgery.
Before and After Hydrocephalus Treatment
If your hydrocephalus treatment is successful, there aren’t any complications, and your brain surgery was performed in the early stage of hydrocephalus, there is a big chance that you will lead a quite normal life. Initially, there may be some rehabilitation required and you need to visit your specialist from time to time for routine controls but apart from that – you will live like anybody else.