outcomes of shunt surgery

Shunt surgery is the most effective treatment for hydrocephalus. By draining excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain, shunt surgery reduces pressure inside the skull lowers the risk of central nervous system damage, and relieves the symptoms associated with hydrocephalus.

Children may need physical or occupational therapy after shunt surgery. Adults may have trouble remembering some things that happened recently (short-term memory).

Once you have a shunt, you always have a shunt, meaning that it is a lifetime commitment. Unfortunately, no shunt lasts forever. On average, shunts last about 10 years, although they can last for a much longer or much shorter amount of time. A shunt may need to be replaced because of an infection or blockage, or because the shunt valve stops working properly. Fixed pressure shunts, which are preset to a fixed pressure pressure, may need to be replaced if the fixed pressure setting no longer matches the person’s needs. In children, a shunt may need to be replaced as the child grows to lengthen the catheter.

The signs that a shunt may need to be replaced are usually the same as the symptoms that were present before the shunt was implanted, but they may also be related to where the lower catheter of the shunt was placed (for instance, in the heart, lung, or abdomen). Click to view a list of the signs that you may need a shunt replacement.

Click to learn about preparing for shunt surgery

Click to learn about the shunt surgery procedure

Click to learn about what to expect after shunt surgery

Success Story

Talking with specialists and other parents through the workings of the Hydrocephalus Association

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Did You Know?

a surgeon who specializes in performing surgery on the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord