Neurosurgery to Remove Excess Cerebrospinal Fluid
What is Hydrocephalus? Hydrocephalus is a condition caused by the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s ventricles. Cerebrospinal fluid is naturally produced by the body to cushion the brain and spinal column, to deliver nutrients and remove waste, and compensate for changes in blood flow to the brain. Too much of of this fluid can damage brain tissue and forcibly widen ventricles (spaced in the brain). Brain surgery by a Board-Certified Neurosurgeon like Dr. Benae be required to treat hydrocephalus.
What Causes Hydrocephalus?
Some people inherit hydrocephalus. The key indicator of congenital hydrocephalus is when a fetus develops with an unusually large head, but other developmental problems may be present. Complications of premature birth can lead to this condition, as can disorders such as spina bifida.
Although children and infants are the most at risk for hydrocephalus, anyone can develop it under the right conditions. Hydrocephalus can also be caused by traumatic brain injury, stroke, infection, meningitis, hemorrhaging and brain tumors. There are four different forms of hydrocephalus: congenital, compensated, acquired and normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH).
Whenever the cranial pressure builds up inside the skull, severe brain injury or even death may result. Also known as “water on the brain” in layman’s terms, hydrocephalus can lead to seizures, intense headache, vomiting, and a host of other neurological problems.
Physical and mental signs of this disorder vary with the patient’s age and stage of the disease. Some common symptoms of hydrocephalus include:
- Memory loss
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Impaired balance and coordination
- Bladder control problems
- Lethargy and sleepiness
- Personality changes
- Mental impairment and dementia
With proper treatment under the care of a qualified neurosurgeon, patients with hydrocephalus can live a normal life, but surgery is usually the recommended avenue for complete relief. Contact our doctor at North Texas Brain and Spine Specialists to receive accurate diagnosis of your condition. Clinical evaluation usually involves detailed examination using advanced imaging equipement such as CT, MRI and pressure monitors, depending on each individual patient’s symptoms, age, medical history and more.
Treatment for Hydrocephalus
Hydrocephalus treatment is typically approached surgically, with some treatments repeated multiple times for best results. During this type of brain surgery, a shunt may be inserted into the affected brain ventricle to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid. The process typically sends the excess fluid into the body where it can be harmlessly absorbed. The end of the shunt often ends in the abdomen, but can also be routed to the lung cavity, atria of the heart or gallbladder, depending on the individual case.
Another potential treatment option involves the use of an small camera inserted into the floor of the third ventricle (endoscopic third ventriculostomy). The neurosurgeon creates a small drainage hole to remove cerebrospinal fluid. This method provides an alternative to shunting that is used when there is the possibility of a shunt malfunction due to various conditions. A shunt’s life expectancy varies widely. Dr. Benae has more than 10 years of experience in neurosurgery, giving him the unique ability to help avoid complications such as shunt malfunctions, over/under draining or infection.
Prognosis After Treatment for Cranial Pressure
Because each case is unique, it’s difficult to determine a generalized prognosis for individuals who have undergone hydrocephalus treatment. One factor that affects the prognosis for such individuals is the amount of time that has passed since hydrocephalus developed and the time that treatment began. As with virtually all medical conditions, the faster treatment is administered, the more likely an affected individual is to have a positive prognosis.
For more information about hydrocephalus, the brain surgery team at North Texas Brain & Spine Specialists constantly stays educated about the latest treatments and technologies. Additional resources can be found online here:
- Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network
- National Hydrocephalus Foundation
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation
Contact the North Texas Brain & Spine Specialists for Hydrocephalus Treatment
If you’re currently dealing with hydrocephalus or if you’re concerned about the potential for developing problems related to excess cerebrospinal fluid, contact the North Texas Brain and Spine Specialists. Our experienced neurosurgeon can offer a number of hydrocephalus treatments as well as other neurological conditions such as Peripheral Neuropathy to fit your individual diagnosis. Call our office in McKinney at (972) 704-1535 or contact us online to learn more or schedule an appointment.