Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) Shunt

A ventriculoperitoneal system, often called a VP Shunt, is often used to treat hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brain).  Its primary goal is to divert the flow of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) from the Central Nervous System (CNS) to another part of the body where it can be absorbed as part of the normal circulatory process.

The VP shunt is essentially a flexible tube (distal catheter) with a one way valve attached to one end and a second catheter (ventricular catheter) attached to the other end of the valve.

A small incision (usually behind the ear) is made and a hole is created into the skull.  The ventricular catheter enters the skull and is placed within a ventricle inside the brain or in the CSF outside the spinal cord. The other end of the catheter attaches to a one way valve which is placed under the skin on the outside of the skull.  From the valve the distal catheter/tubing is then placed into the peritoneal cavity within the abdomen where the CSF can drain and be absorbed as part of the normal circulatory process.

As with all procedures there are risks involved.  Risks include excessive bleeding, infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia.  If you develop a fever, headache, abdominal pain, fatigue or a spike in blood pressure contact our office.

Your neurosurgeon and staff will thoroughly discuss risks and symptoms to watch out for with you prior to your procedure.


References: American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Barrow Neurological Institute, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, National Institute of Health.

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