Meeting a neurosurgeon for the first time can usher in anticipation and anxiety. However, it does not have to be this way. To help ease your concerns and ensure a smooth first visit, here is what you can expect during this initial consultation.Many patients need to be aware that care starts before the consultation. To…
FAQs About Hydrocephalus Treatment
Hydrocephalus affects people of all ages. Whether you are a parent concerned about your infant or are an adult with this condition, you likely have questions about hydrocephalus treatment. There are a couple of types of treatment to choose from. As neurosurgeons, we encourage patients and their families to ask any questions they have about the process to better prepare for it.
What is hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus is a condition that results from a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. CSF naturally flows through cavities in the brain known as ventricles, delivering nutrients to and removing waste from the brain. However, with hydrocephalus, an excessive amount of CSF collects within the ventricles. Not only does this enlarge the ventricles, but it also creates an unhealthy amount of pressure inside the head. With time, this can interfere with how the brain functions.
How is hydrocephalus treated?
The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is brain surgery. There are two hydrocephalus treatments: getting a shunt or an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). Shunts are surgically implanted flexible tubes that drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. There are a few shunt systems, each draining to a different body part (heart, lungs, or abdomen). On the other hand, an ETV is a type of brain surgery that involves creating a small hole in the third ventricle, which improves the flow of CSF and prevents buildup.
How long does it take to implant a shunt?
A neurosurgeon can implant a shunt in as little as an hour. That said, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for 24 hours afterward for recovery and observation. With check-in, the procedure itself, and the observation period, most patients can expect to stay at least two days in the hospital.
What is the recovery period like after getting a shunt?
Every patient is different, making it hard to predict the recovery period. For example, Johns Hopkins Medicine sets the timeline for recovery anywhere between several days and months. It all depends on the individual patient, their symptoms, and whether they have a co-occurring medical condition.
How long does a shunt last?
Unfortunately, shunts do not last forever. A neurosurgeon will eventually need to replace part of the shunt in a procedure known as shunt revision. Typically, shunts only need to be revised every six years. Sometimes, however, a patient will need to get a completely new shunt after a few years.
Are there any risks or complications?
There are risks associated with any type of brain surgery, including those used for hydrocephalus treatment. For instance, surgical wounds always carry a risk of infection. Shunts could also become blocked or malfunction, either not draining enough cerebrospinal fluid or draining too much. Similarly, with ETV, there is the risk of the hole closing. A neurosurgeon trained in hydrocephalus treatment will work to minimize these risks and complications.
Get more information about hydrocephalus treatment
There is no cure for hydrocephalus, but effective treatments are available. Learn more about the options available from a neurosurgeon. Call our Palm Harbor office to schedule a consultation appointment.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Hydrocephalus Treatment in Palm Harbor, FL.
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