Hydrocephalus is a condition characterized by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cranial vault. It occurs when there is an obstruction in the flow of CSF or a decrease in its absorption, disrupting the normal circulation of fluid in the brain and spinal cord. Hydrocephalus typically begins in infancy before the skull fully forms, but it can rarely occur in adults as well.
The underlying causes of hydrocephalus can vary. It can be a result of brain tumors, cysts, infections, bleeding, congenital anomalies, or abnormalities in CSF circulation.
The treatment of hydrocephalus involves surgical interventions aimed at draining the accumulated CSF or restoring its normal circulation. Shunt systems or endoscopic third ventriculostomy are commonly used surgical approaches.
A shunt system redirects the excess CSF from the area of accumulation to another site. It typically consists of a catheter placed within the ventricular system and a valve mechanism. The valve allows for controlled drainage of CSF, preventing its accumulation.
Endoscopic third ventriculostomy aims to create an opening in the ventricles using an endoscope. This opening serves to restore the normal circulation of CSF.
The treatment approach for hydrocephalus is tailored to the individual patient and the underlying cause of hydrocephalus. Regular follow-up and adjustments are important after surgical intervention.