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A ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VP) shunt is a device that is used to relieve the pressure from the brain caused by the fluid accumulation. The VP shunting is a surgical procedure that is primarily used for treating hydrocephalus, a condition which occurs when excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) gets accumulated in the brain’s ventricles.
The CSF acts as a cushion for your brain, which protects it from injury inside the skull. The fluid also acts delivery system for nutrients required by your brain and takes away the waste products. Normally, the CSF flows through these ventricles to the base of the brain and then bathes the brain as well as the spinal cord before being reabsorbed into the blood. If the normal flow gets disrupted, then the fluid accumulation can cause harmful pressure on the brain tissue thereby damages the brain.
The VP shunts are surgically placed inside one of the ventricles of the brain for diverting the fluid away from the brain. This in turn helps restore the normal flow of the CSF and also its absorption.
Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Procedure
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and will not experience any pain. The patient will be asleep during the entire procedure which takes about 90 minutes. The medical care team will provide you the instructions about the pre-operative food and drink restrictions.
Older children and adults are asked to fast for at least eight hours before the surgery. Infants and toddlers are required to stop eating the solid foods six hours before surgery.
The hair behind the ear of the patient will be shaved in preparation for the shunting procedure. This is the area where the thin and flexible tubes called as catheters are inserted to drain off the excess fluid. The surgeon will make a small incision behind the ear and drill a small hole in the skull. One catheter is threaded into the brain through this opening and another is placed under the skin behind the ear. This tube is snaked down to the chest and abdomen, this allows excess CSF to drain away into the abdominal cavity where the body absorbs it.
The surgeon will attach a tiny pump to both the catheters and place it under the skin behind the ears. When the pressure inside the skull increases, this pump will automatically activate for removing the fluid. The pump, called as a valve is programmable to activate when the fluid increases a predetermined volume.
Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Recovery
The ventriculoperitoneal shunt recovery may take about three to four days. Most patients are able to leave the hospital within seven days post the procedure.
As per the NIH (National Institutes of Health), children undergoing this procedure need to lie flat for 24 hours after the initial shunt placement.
During hospitalization, the blood pressure and heart rate of the patient will be monitored frequently. Your doctor will administer the preventive antibiotics and ensure that the shunt is working properly before you are given discharge.
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Why Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt is necessary?
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt is needed to treat hydrocephalus, which is most likely in babies and in older adults. According to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one out of every 500 children are likely affected by this condition.
The excess fluid accumulation around the brain can be caused due to a number of reasons, including:
- Poor absorption of CSF by the blood vessels
- Overproduction of CSF
- Blockages preventing the fluid to flow throughout the brain.
Tumors, cysts or the inflammation in the brain hampers the normal flow of CSF, thereby create an unsafe build-up.
The symptoms of hydrocephalus are:
Headaches, large head size, seizures, loss of previously acquired skill,s irritability, incontinence, memory loss, poor appetite, cognitive delays, impaired vision and poor coordination.
Diagnosis of hydrocephalus includes:
Imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans are used to view the cavities and tissues within the brain. The tests will show if the areas of the brain are filled with more fluid than the normal.
Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Reviews: Is it Effective?
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt is safe and successful in reducing the pressure in the brain in most people. Due to advances in medicine and technology, the majority of the patients who undergo this surgery do not experience any complications. VP shunts require to be replaced after several years, especially in the case of small children. An average lifespan for an infant’s shunt is about two years. Adults and older children may not need a shunt replacement for eight or more years. The shunts require frequent monitoring and follow-ups.
Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Cost comparisons
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt in India costs only $1,180 which is a fraction of the cost as compared to the rates in other developed countries. India offers the best quality treatment at highly affordable prices.
Why to choose India for your Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt?
India provides cost effective ventriculoperitoneal shunt as compared to the first world countries. Over the past few years, India has become a favorite medical destination spot for overseas patients looking to undergo quality treatments at affordable rates. The medical services and facilities provided by Indian hospitals are in par with its counterparts. The surgeons in India are experienced and highly skilled to perform better treatments for your medical conditions.