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The team at the Brain Care Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh works hard to provide treatment, education, and guidance as each baby grows and develops. Our main goal for children with hydrocephalus is to determine the underlying cause of hydrocephalus, if present, and to promptly treat both the hydrocephalus and the reason for its development before irreversible changes in the brain occur.
A team of specialists will determine if medications or additional procedures should be used. The key to caring for hydrocephalus in infants is early detection and treatment, and prevention of infection through frequent medical evaluations.
For many children with hydrocephalus, surgery is needed. This may involve placing a shunt, which is a device used to help drain the extra CSF from the brain and redirect the extra fluid to another part of the body. A common type of shunt is the ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Insertion of the ventriculoperitoneal shunt is done under general anesthesia, which at Children’s is administered by pediatric anesthesiologists who specialize in treating children.
The shunt consists of three parts:
Some children with certain types of hydrocephalus can be treated successfully in a minimally invasive manner through endoscopic intraventricular surgery. An endoscope is used to create bypass channels for fluid to flow around an area of obstruction (as in an endoscopic third ventriculostomy or an endoscopic septostomy) or to directly treat an obstructing lesion, such as endoscopic cyst fenestration.
Hydrocephalus can affect a child’s brain and development. The extent of the problem depends on the severity of the hydrocephalus, and whether brain or other organ system problems exist.
Although the benefits of these surgeries usually outweigh the risks, potential complications can arise, including:
These complications require prompt medical evaluation. Following surgery, the family will receive instructions on how to care for the baby at home, and information about signs or symptoms requiring medical care.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.