Hydrocephalus is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. Most patients who have hydrocephalus need shunt placement surgery. The shunt reroutes excess fluid to an area in the body where it can be safely reabsorbed.
Within the skull is a network of four ventricles connected by narrow passageways. Through this network, called the ventricular system, a clear fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows to provide support and nourishment to the brain.
CSF is produced by the choroid plexus and then continuously cycles through the ventricular system, and around the brain and spinal cord, to deliver nutrients and pick up waste. Then the CSF flows to small cavities in the skull where it can be absorbed by the bloodstream.
When the cycling process is disrupted, fluid builds up in the brain. Because the skull is rigid and cannot accommodate the buildup of fluid, intracranial pressure rises; this is hydrocephalus. Left untreated, hydrocephalus can damage brain tissue and be life-threatening.
Various problems may bring about hydrocephalus. Physicians classify each instance according to what causes it to arise, using one or more of the following terms:
Physicians further distinguish among cases of hydrocephalus on the basis of when they develop:
For more information about pediatric hydrocephalus, please click here.
You have added pages to your clipboard. Please log in or create an account to share them or use later.
You are now being taken to Columbia Neurosurgery's site dedicated to the spine.
Use this button to save pages to your clipboard for future use.OK. Got it.