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Any surgery carries some risk, but lumboperitoneal shunts have been used routinely to effectively treat IIH for many years. You’ll work with a variety of healthcare professionals as you pursue shunt therapy for yourself or your family member. This team will likely include the following medical professionals:
Part of your healthcare team’s job is to make sure you are made as comfortable as possible during the procedure. Always ask them to explain if there’s something you don’t understand. Also, make sure to tell them of any concerns you may have regarding the procedure or follow-up treatment.
The lumboperitoneal shunt implantation procedure is performed under general anesthesia with sterile conditions in the operating room. Although the operation is short (often under an hour), careful preparation for the surgery adds extra time. In order to help prevent infection, part of the body may need to be shaved and the surgical area is washed with a special antibacterial soap. The patient is covered with sterile drapes, which maintain the sterile environment throughout the operation.
To implant a lumboperitoneal shunt, an incision is made near the base of the spine and a small catheter is inserted into the subarachnoid space of the lower spine. This is the same location where a lumbar puncture is taken. The proximal catheter (the catheter placed in the lumbar space) is attached to the valve, which is usually placed around the hip bone or rib cage. Finally, the distal catheter — the tube which moves fluid into the abdomen — is tunneled under the skin to the abdomen, where it is inserted in the abdominal cavity.
Immediately after surgery, you will be taken to the post-anesthesia care unit. You’ll stay there for close observation for an hour or so and then be taken to your room. Most patients leave the hospital within two to seven days, depending on their clinical progress.
Although this is the usual procedure when a shunt is placed, each individual may have a slightly different experience based upon their neurosurgeon, hospital, and their particular medical needs.
If you have had a shunt implanted to treat idiopathic intracranial hypertension, you will require long-term follow-up care. You will need to have medical check-ups according to the schedule your neurosurgeon recommends. Physical and occupational therapy may also speed recovery and further enhance health.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.