Hydrocephalus is a disease that often affects children and can develop in the womb.
The corrective operation consists of removing excess cerebrospinal fluid (caused by malabsorption, a blockage in a ventricle, or excessive production) in the ventricles of the brain by shunting the fluid out through a tube.
Depending on the age at which this disease affects us, which can be caused by meningitis or a pathology of its own, different symptoms can occur that indicate the need to resort to this surgery.
For example, in babies it is characterized by a rapid and unusual increase in the size of the head and a bulge in the fontanel accompanied by poor growth, vomiting, irritability, sleepiness …
In children and adults it often involves lack of balance, urinary incontinence or irritability, among others.
In adults over 60 it also leads to memory loss or difficulty walking
This procedure is normally performed under general anaesthesia and usually takes between 60 to 90 minutes.
The intervention consists of:
– The scalp is partially shaved and the patient is washed from the head to the abdomen.
– An incision is made on the head (usually behind the ear) and another on the abdomen.
– A hole is made in the skull through which a shunt is inserted into the lateral ventricle of the brain.
– A second shunt is placed under the skin from the head incision to the peritoneal incision where excess fluid will be reabsorbed.
– Both catheters are connected to a valve to regulate intracranial pressure.
– Finally, the patient will be stitched up.
After your time in the recovery room, you will be taken to the ward, where you will stay for 3 or 4 days to continue your recovery (depending on your age and physical condition, you may stay the first night in the ICU).
Some of the symptoms disappear after the ventriculoperitoneal shunt but depending on your age and the progression of the illness up until the time of your operation you may need physiotherapy to recover some diminished faculties among other therapies (cognitive or behavioural).
If you are able to afford to stay in Spain during the entire recovery process, depending on how affected your abilities are, you should stay here between two to four weeks or between two and six months to achieve a satisfactory recovery following the therapies prescribed by your surgeon.