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Home >> Specialities >> Neurosciences >> Neurosurgery >> Hydrocephalus Treatment

Hydrocephalus Treatment

Hydrocephalus is a Neurological condition in which the cerebrospinal fluids start building in the deep brain cavities, also known as ventricles. The fluid caused these ventricles to swell up, inducing increased pressure on the brain. The condition can damage the brain cells, leading to physical and mental impairments. The condition can affect people of any age group but is most commonly seen in infants and elderly above 60 years of age. The condition can be treated surgically by implanting a small shunt in the patient’s brain. This helps to relieve the pressure by draining the fluids to other areas.

What accuses Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus can either be congenital or acquired later in life. Nearly 1 or 2 out of every 1000 babies are born with the condition and present with the symptoms soon after birth.

If the condition is present since birth, it is believed to be caused by 

  • Inherited genetic abnormalities
  • Certain developmental disorders 
  • Premature birth
  • Prenatal infections 

If the condition is acquired later in life, it could be due to 

  • Tumors of the brain or spine 
  • CNS infection 
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke 

What are the indications of Hydrocephalus?
There are several symptoms that suggest that a person might be having Hydrocephalus. These vary from one person to another, depending on various factors, the most common of which is the patient’s age:

Symptoms in infants 

  • Increase in the size of the head at a rapid rate
  • Enlarged head
  • A soft bulge on the fontanel
  • Unexplained vomiting
  • Difficulty with feeding
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Irritability and crying 
  • Seizures 

Symptoms in older children

  • Frequent headaches
  • Problems with vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Slow overall development
  • Falling asleep too often 
  • Changes in behavior 
  • Bladder incontinence

Symptoms in adults 

  • Sudden onset of progressive neurological problems like dementia 
  • Slowing of movements 
  • Bladder incontinence
  • Lack of balance and coordination 

When should you consider seeing a doctor?
You should see a doctor as soon as you start experiencing the symptoms. These do not necessarily mean that you have hydrocephalus and any conclusion can be reached only after thorough evaluation and assessment. 

Treatment for Hydrocephalus 
At present, there is only one surgical intervention that is available for the management of patients with hydrocephalus. This involves the placement of a shunt in the brain, to help drain the fluids to surrounding areas. This helps to relieve pressure from the brain. The shunt is made up of 3 parts, which include a collection catheter, a valve mechanism, and an exit catheter. 

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