If you experience hydrocephalus symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or impaired brain function, you should see a specialist. Your doctor will decide if you have hydrocephalus or not and whether a treatment such as a brain shunting or ETV neurosurgery is needed.
Up to one week
Up to one week
The treatment process of hydrocephalus does not need any specific preparation. You will be asked to report any medications you have been using and any medical conditions you may have. You should stop using blood thinners such as aspirin from a few days before surgery.
Hydrocephalus treatment has two main types: Brain shunt and ETV neurosurgery.
• The brain shunt is a method of discharging excess fluid by placing a tube from the patient's brain to the stomach. This reduces pressure on the brain and increases the patient's quality of life.
• ETV brain surgery (endoscopic third ventriculostomy) is performed only for patients with obstructive hydrocephalus. Obstructive hydrocephalus occurs when the fluid in the brain cannot be removed due to obstruction. Doctors use endoscopy to treat the disease.
The recovery period of hydrocephalus is relatively quick. The patient may leave the hospital only a few days after shunt or ETV neurosurgery. Complete recovery after treatment depends on the damage caused by hydrocephalus and the ability of the brain to heal. The rehabilitation process may help healing period positively. If the hole opened during shunt or ETV neurosurgery becomes blocked later, it may be necessary to re-operate.
Hydrocephalus treatment has a few risks related to it. In shunt surgery, infection or obstruction of brain shunt may occur, but they are quite rare. In ETV brain surgery, the hole opened by the doctors may be obstructed. Infection(smaller than in brain shunt union nerve damage and internal bleeding, which in extraordinary cases may be life-threatening may also be seen with a small likelihood. However, these risks are acceptable, given that hydrocephalus causes severe brain damage and even death.
The most important side effect is the necessity of continuous control of brain shunt or the hole created after ETV neurosurgery. Other than that, there are no significant side effects.
The success rate of brain shunt surgery is around 80%. Although this rate is even higher in ETV neurosurgery, not all patients can undergo this operation
If the hydrocephalus treatment is successful, no complications are observed, and if surgery is performed in the early stage of the disease, it is highly possible to return to normal life. Rehabilitation in the beginning and regular checks in the future may be required. Nevertheless, life, similar to everyone has, is sustainable.
What is Standard Hydrocephalus Treatments?
Doctors may preferbrain shunt surgery and ETV neurosurgery. Brain shunt is a tube draining excessive fluid in the brain, while ETV neurosurgery is focused on creating a hole through which fluid will drip, leading to normal pressure in one's brain.
What is better: Brain Shunt or ETV Neurosurgery? ETV neurosurgery is a better hydrocephalus treatment since it has a lower probability of infection as well as a higher success rate. However, not every patient can undergo this type of hydrocephalus treatment. Still, brain shunt is also an effective treatment for hydrocephalus.
Is Hydrocephalus Curable?
Hydrocephalus treatment does not cure the disease. For this reason, it is important to control the brain shunt or hole created through ETV neurosurgery – if they get blocked, a new hydrocephalus surgery is necessary.
Up to the case
This content is written and reviewed by our medical content team in August, 2019.