Ventriculoperitoneal shunting is a procedure used to treat hydrocephalus (a condition marked by excessive fluid build-up in the brain and spinal cord). This excess fluid puts pressure on the brain. Symptoms include but are not limited to headaches, vision problems, walking difficulties, confusion, and incontinences. Left untreated, this can cause brain damage. As a result, hydrocephalus needs to be treated quickly after diagnosis.
During the ventriculoperitoneal shunting procedure, the patient will be put under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes small incisions in the back of the head and the belly, and drills a small hole in the skull. Two catheters are then inserted – one into a ventricle in the brain, and the other underneath the incision in the back of the head. Finally, a fluid pump (or valve) is put in place and connected to both catheters. This pump/valve monitors fluid levels in the brain and drains excess fluid out of the brain when necessary.
Minnesota Brain Surgeons
The surgery takes roughly an hour and a half to complete, and typically requires a hospital stay of two to four days. If you have questions about ventriculoperitoneal shunting, or would like to make an appointment with one of our Stillwater brain surgeons, contact Midwest Spine & Brain Institute at 1.800.353.7720.