Hydrocephalus: Treatments

How is hydrocephalus treated?

The Neurosciences Institute at Children's Hospital Colorado

The body will continue to produce cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) even when there is a buildup, which causes increasing pressure on the brain. Therefore, the treatment of hydrocephalus requires the creation of an alternative pathway for the CSF. In most cases, this involves the placement of a shunt.

A shunt is a narrow and flexible tube that allows the CSF to leave the brain and go somewhere else in the body to get reabsorbed, typically the peritoneal cavity (the place in the abdomen where organs such as the liver, stomach and intestines are housed). In the peritoneal cavity, the body makes and reabsorbs peritoneal fluid. The shunt lets the CSF to flow to the peritoneal cavity and get reabsorbed along with the peritoneal fluid.

In certain circumstances, a shunt can be avoided by using minimally invasive technology to create an alternative pathway for fluid, called an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). During this procedure, a small hole is made in one of the ventricles so that the CSF can bypass an obstruction. This procedure can only be used in certain types of hydrocephalus.

Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s hydrocephalus?

Children’s Colorado has by far the most depth and experience in managing the care of children with hydrocephalus, including six pediatric neurosurgeons and five pediatric neurosurgical pediatric nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

If your child has hydrocephalus, treating the condition individually and promptly can make all the difference. Our diagnostic tools and pediatric experience are unmatched at any other health care center in the region.

In addition, our very large Neurosciences group, including more than 20 neurologists, neurology nurse practitioners and developmental pediatricians allows for the most comprehensive and integrated care for even the most complicated cases of pediatric hydrocephalus.