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Minimally Invasive Treatment of Hydrocephalus

The typical treatment for the life-threatening condition of hydrocephalus has been revolutionized with advanced minimally invasive endoscopic approaches. Standard practice for children or adults with "water on the brain" or hydrocephalus, has been to insert a shunt, a tube-like structure from inside the brain to the abdominal compartment. These devices, although very effective, are known to carry a substantial life-long risk from problems including infection and blockage. With the development of small caliber endoscopes, minimally invasive techniques are now possible in the brain. One procedure that has gained wide spread appeal replaces the need for placing shunts in patients with hydrocephalus. This minimally invasive procedure, called endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), involves making a small 3-4 mm communication between the third ventricle and the subarachnoid space. The procedure can be done is as little as 15 minutes through a small incision behind the hairline. The majority of patients stay in the hospital for only 1 night. Because there is no implanted device there is no risk of shunt infection or mechanical malfunction.

In the ensuing ORLive segment a young child with hydrocephalus is treated with ETV. You will meet the child and his family, listen to a detailed discussion regarding the treatment and how ETV compares with shunting, hear about the potential risks of ETV, and learn which patients are candidates for this exciting and newest available treatment for hydrocephalus. Additionally, you will actually witness this minimally invasive surgery as an observer in the operating room and through the lens of the endoscope within the brain.



Mark Souweidane

Mark Souweidane, MD

Philip Stieg

Philip Stieg, MD, PhD