What is Hydrocephalus?
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The term hydrocephalus is derived from two words (HYDRO = water, CEPHALUS = head). Hydrocephalus is a condition in which too much cerebrospinal fluid (water-like fluid produced in the brain that circulates around and protects the brain and spinal cord) accumulates within the ventricles (the cavities or chambers within the brain which contain the cerebrospinal fluid. There are two lateral ventricles and midline third and fourth ventricles) of the brain and may increase pressure within the cranium (the part of the skull that holds the brain). The condition may occur at any age. --(1)
"Today hydrocephalus ("HC") is treated by a surgical procedure, performed by a neurosurgeon, in which a tube called a shunt is placed in to the child's body. The shunt channels the flow of fluid away from the brain or spinal cord into another part of the body, where the fluid can be carried away in the bloodstream. This is a relatively common operation. In most cases, the procedure successfully controls HC, but, unlike many surgical procedures that can cure a disease, the placement of a shunt does not cure HC. Except in rare cases, HC is a lifelong illness. And as with any long-term illness, complications can occur to which parents must be alert. The changes that signal a possible complication require your understanding, because a complication left undiagnosed and untreated could cause severe brain damage, or threaten the life of your child." --(2)
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(1) Heath Resources:Neurosurgery:// On-Call; American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons
(2) University of California, San Francisco, CA.