The Norton Children’s board-certified neurosurgery team is led by Thomas M. Moriarity, M.D., Ph.D., a recognized leader in the field with extensive experience and specialized training. Our physicians have the sophisticated tools and skills to give you and your child a precise diagnosis and treatment plan for hydrocephalus that minimizes risks so your child can get back to being a kid.
What Is Hydrocephalus?
Hydrocephalus refers to the buildup of fluid in and around the brain. You may hear the phrase “water on the brain,” but the fluid isn’t actually water — it’s cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF. Some amount of CSF is necessary to cushion and protect the brain, but an excess of it creates pressure on the brain, which can lead to permanent damage if left untreated.
Hydrocephalus can happen as a result of many different things, and it affects people of all ages. Some children are born with it; others develop it as children or adults.
To relieve pressure on the brain, doctors may opt to implant a shunt — a small tube that allows excess CSF to leave the brain and go someplace else in the body to be reabsorbed. Often, it’s routed to the abdominal cavity. This is called a ventriculoperitoneal shunt.
In some cases, shunts can be avoided altogether, and minimally invasive surgical techniques can be used instead. These options require specific conditions to be met, which the specialists at Norton Children’s Hospital will go over with you.