the shunt surgery procedure

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When it is time for your surgery, you will be brought into the operating room. There, you will be hooked up to an intravenous (IV) line as well as to one or more devices to monitor you during and after surgery. These devices include:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) —which monitors your heart rate.
  • Automatic blood pressure (BP) cuff—monitors your blood pressure.
  • Pulse oximeter-measures the amount of oxygen in your blood.

You will likely be given general anesthesia, either through your IV line or with a special mask placed over your nose and mouth, which will make you fall asleep. A small amount of hair on your head may be shaved and some antiseptic solution will be scrubbed on your head and parts of your belly.

Small incisions are then made on the head and in the abdomen (in case of a VP shunt) to allow the neurosurgeon to pass the shunt's tubing through the fatty tissue just under the skin. A small hole is made in the skull, opening the membranes between the skull and brain to allow the upper catheter to be passed through the brain and into the ventricle. The lower catheter (or abdominal / peritoneal catheter) is passed into the belly through a small opening in the lining of the abdomen where the excess CSF will eventually be absorbed. The incisions are then closed and sterile bandages are applied.

Click to learn about preparing for shunt surgery

Click to learn about what to expect after shunt surgery

Click to learn more about outcomes of shunt surgery


DSUS/COD/1214/0215 - 01/2015



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Did You Know?

Hydrocephalus is a combination of the Greek word “hydro” which means water and “cephalus” which means head.