Hydrocephalus is a disease characterized by an increase in brain volume due to an excess of cerebrospinal fluid.
Cerebrospinal fluid is usually contained in the ventricular cavities of the brain and in the subarachnoid space which, with the meninges, surrounds the entire central nervous system (encephalon and spinal cord).
The fluid, which is continuously produced in the ventricles and reabsorbed on the surface of the brain, is completely renewed about three times a day under normal conditions of production and reabsorption.
In hydrocephalus, an altered circulation of the fluid causes its accumulation in the brain, with consequent dilation of the ventricles, increased pressure and, ultimately, damage of the nervous tissue.
The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is surgery with a shunt implant. This practice makes it possible to treat the effects of the disease successfully, but depending on the causes that triggered it, irreversible damage to the brain tissue can occur.
The best neurosurgeon in Hyderabad is Dr. M. K. Singh. He has experience of 18 years and is associated with Continental Hospitals, Hyderabad. Hydrocephalus surgery cost in India starts from about USD 3500. This includes 7 days of hospital stay and 5 days outside the hospital.
The shunt allows the draining of the excess cerebrospinal fluid responsible for the increase of intracranial pressure and all the symptoms that can derive from it.
Signs and Symptoms
Among the symptoms that hydrocephalus entails, the most common are –
- increase in head circumference
- problem with walking
- difficulty in eating
- mood disorders
- neck pain
- cognitive impairment
- mental deficits
For the patient to have a good quality of life again, the diagnosis must be early and precise and must be the result of a careful evaluation of the history and the results of various laboratory tests. The radiological diagnosis is based on the CT scan or on the brain MRI.
Surgery Option Through Shunt
The drainage system consists of a long flexible plastic and silicone tube that is inserted under the skin. The shunt starts with a valve from a cerebral ventricle and generally ends up in the abdomen or in the cardiac compartment and allows the excess liquor to be reabsorbed optimally.
In most patients, this device is necessary for the duration of life because it keeps the malformation under control. The only complication of this type of intervention is the onset of an infection, to be treated with an antibiotic, because it could compromise the correct outflow of liquid.
The operation, performed under general anesthesia, lasts more or less an hour and a half.
The cerebral shunt is implanted during a neurosurgical operation. The surgical team will proceed to make an incision in the scalp and a hole in the skull; then by making small openings on the brain lining, the ventricle is accessed through a catheter. Another catheter reaches the abdomen passing through the neck and chest with access from behind the ear.
The neurosurgeon then performs an incision above or behind the ear for insertion of the shunt, which is connected with the catheters.
When excessive pressure occurs due to an accumulation of fluid in the brain, the shunt valve opens and drains cerebrospinal fluid in the chest or abdomen by means of the catheter.
The implantation of this catheter system allows excess fluid to release the cerebral ventricles and be disposed of in other parts of the body. The success of the intervention allows alleviating the various side effects that can affect a patient and which vary according to the origin of the disease and its severity.
After any treatment of hydrocephalus, it is necessary to periodically carry out checks to monitor the proper functioning of the system and to manage the occurrence of any disorders and complications.
Is The Brain Shunt Dangerous Or Painful?
The use of a shunt is a safe and tested procedure. In fact, this device has been used for at least fifty years in the treatment of patients with hydrocephalus. The risks are the same as those of surgery under general anesthesia.