Potential Patient Pathways Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension


In order to determine the potential patient pathway, a healthcare team will use one or more of a variety of possible diagnostic tests. They will also consider any other conditions present.

Diagnostic Procedures

A doctor may use several tests when considering whether to use a shunt. These same studies can also help evaluate the shunt in case of malfunction or infection.

Brain Imaging

One of the following brain imaging methods may be performed1:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses radio signals and a magnet to form computer images of the brain, ventricles, and spine.
  • Computed (axial) tomography (CAT or CT) scans are special x-ray techniques, which outline the ventricles and other structures of the brain in cross section.

Your surgeon will decide which type of brain imaging will be appropriate with your situation.

MRI or CT are non-invasive diagnostic tools

An MRI or CT are non-invasive diagnostic
tools to help the surgeon make the
correct diagnosis.

Lumbar Puncture or Spinal Tap

The lumbar puncture or spinal tap is an invasive diagnostic test that allows CSF to be removed for examination and the pressure of CSF within the spinal column to be measured.


A lumbar puncture or spinal tap is used
to remove and test CSF from the lumbar
area of the spine.



Greenberg Mark S. Handbook of Neurosurgery, 7th ed. Thieme Medical Publishers; 2010;716.