Pediatric hydrocephalus is a buildup of fluid in the brain at the time of birth or during infancy, childhood or adolescence. Most often, the primary treatment for this condition is surgery to drain the fluid, and a child’s outcome is often excellent.
Hydrocephalus is one of the problems pediatric neurosurgeons see most frequently. It is also known as “water on the brain,” but that term is actually a misnomer. In reality, most cases of hydrocephalus represent a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inside the brain.
Everyone continuously produces CSF, a fluid very similar to the liquid portion of blood. It contains various salts as well as other products, such as sodium and glucose. Primarily produced in the ventricles, the fluid circulates through the ventricle system and around the brain and spinal cord. Eventually, the CSF is reabsorbed over the surface of the brain into large veins, where CSF mixes with blood and is transported to the heart. This orderly cycle of CSF production, flow and absorption maintains a protective environment for the central nervous system.
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