How is Hydrocephalus treated?

Some forms of Hydrocephalus require no specific treatment. Other forms are temporary and do not require long-term treatment. However, most forms do require treatment, and this is usually surgical. Drugs have been used for many years but they may have unpleasant side effects and are often not successful.

The usual treatment is to insert a shunting device. It is important to note that this does not 'cure' the Hydrocephalus and damage to the brain tissue remains. Shunting controls the pressure by draining excess CSF, so preventing the condition from becoming worse. Symptoms caused by raised pressure usually improve but other problems of brain damage will remain.

An alternative treatment may be third ventriculostomy. This treatment, if successful, avoids the need for a shunt. However, not all types of Hydrocephalus can be treated by this method and it is not available in all neurosurgical units.

Can hydrocephalus be cured? 

There is no cure for hydrocephalus. In most cases, it is a condition that is present for life, except when it is the result of a brain tumour. In this case, it may be possible to remove the tumour, and allow the cerebrospinal fluid to flow.

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