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How is Hydrocephalus managed?

Some forms of hydrocephalus require no specific treatment. Other forms are temporary and do not require treatment on a long-term basis. However, most forms do require treatment and this is usually surgical. Drugs have been used for many years but they may have unpleasant side effects and are not often successful.
Shunt placement diagram

The usual treatment is to insert a shunting device. It is important to note that this does not 'cure' the hydrocephalus and damage to the brain tissue remains. Shunting controls the pressure by draining excess CSF, so preventing the condition becoming worse. Symptoms caused by raised pressure usually improve but other problems of brain damage will remain.

Recently, the technique of ‘third ventriculostomy’ (drilling a hole between 3rd and 4th ventricle allowing the fluid to escape) has been improved by the use of neuro-endoscopes. This treatment, if successful, avoids the need for a shunt. However, not all types of hydrocephalus can be treated by this method.

Shunt Alert Cards. If you have a shunt operation, we can provide you with a free medical alert card to keep with you at all times.

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