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Getting the Surgery
Brain surgery always entails some risk, but shunts have been used to treat hydrocephalus for more than 50 years. Typically, a neurosurgeon places the entire shunt in less than an hour. Most people go home less than a week after surgery.
In order to determine whether a shunt is right for you or your family member, your healthcare team will use one or more of a variety of possible diagnostic tests.
In order to determine whether a shunt is right for you or your family member, your neurosurgeon may use one or more of a variety of possible diagnostic tests. He or she will also consider any other conditions you may have.
There are several diagnostic tests that can help in diagnosing hydrocephalus. These same studies can also help evaluate the shunt in case of malfunction or infection.
Computerised tomography (CT) scans use tiny beams of x-ray to outline the skull, brain, and ventricles. In addition to visualising the size and shape of the ventricles, abnormalities such as tumours, cysts, and other pathologies can also be seen.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses radio signals and a magnet to form computer images of the brain and the ventricles.
Neuropsychological testing is the most accurate means of identifying an individual’s cognitive strengths and difficulties. The tests involve answering questions, performing tasks, and following instructions.
In this procedure, the healthcare team removes cerebrospinal fluid and checks for an improvement in the symptoms related to normal pressure hydrocephalus.
This technique is an option if an individual doesn’t respond to a simple lumbar puncture. The procedure requires hospitalisation for 3 to 5 days so that cerebrospinal fluid can be drained and the person’s symptoms regularly assessed.
This test determines the body’s capacity to absorb excess cerebrospinal fluid. The test involves a lumbar puncture and an infusion of artificial spinal fluid.
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