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What are the Different Types of Hydrocephalus Treatment?

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  • Written By: K. Gierok
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Hydrocephalus is a condition characterized by excess pressure in the brain. Often, this increase in pressure is caused by a blockage which prevents normal fluid drainage. While there are a number of possible treatments for this condition, the most common hydrocephalus treatment is surgery. Examples of surgeries used for hydrocephalus treatment include shunt placement and ventriculostomy. In addition, physical or occupation therapy can be beneficial. Using caution when riding a bike or driving a car are important in the prevention of this condition.

An effective form of hydrocephalus treatment is the shunt. A shunt is a tube that is often used to regulate both the amount of fluid in a particular part of the body, as well as the way in which the fluid flows. In hydrocephalus, a shunt drains excess fluid from the brain. Typically, physicians implant one end of the shunt into the affected area of the brain and the other in the abdomen or heart, which are usually not adversely affected by fluid buildup.

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Patients who are not good candidates for a shunt or who have not seen beneficial results from this procedure may require less invasive types of hydrocephalus treatment. A ventriculostomy is a procedure in which a hole is drilled in the affected part of the brain. The excessive amounts of fluid are not only drawn out of the brain, but also are absorbed by surrounding tissue. This procedure can be a good choice for elderly adults, children, or others who have weakened immune systems, as the demands of the surgery are less intense.

Patients who have undergone these types of surgery are often encouraged to participate in physical or occupational therapy in order to ensure complete hydrocephalus treatment. Depending on the severity of the condition and an individual's previous activity level or job requirements, therapy can take only a few weeks or several months for completion. In addition, the aggressiveness of the physical or occupational therapy will depend on the severity of the individual condition.

In order to avoid the development of hydrocephalus to begin with, individuals should protect their heads from trauma of all kinds. Wearing a helmet while riding a bike, using a seat belt while driving in a car, and keeping vaccinations updated are all important steps in the prevention of the condition. Women who are or think they may be pregnant and are concerned about possible hydrocephalus should consult with their physician to protect the unborn baby from the condition.

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