Pressure and Cerebrospinal Fluid Buildup
Hydrocephalus is a group of brain conditions dealing with excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) buildups within the brain. The condition is sometimes called “water of the brain” and has many causes and forms. The buildup of CSF can cause intense cranial pressure and headaches. The condition mostly affects children but can also develop in adults. An MRI scan will map out a detailed picture of the brain to show any signs of CSF blockage.
Aqueductal stenosis is an example of obstructive hydrocephalus in which an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) procedure is used to treat the blockage in order to normalize pressure on the brain.
ETV is an alternate treatment to shunt placement and is not a cure for hydrocephalus. Unlike shunt procedures, ETV keeps the CSF within the brain and spinal cord instead of draining the fluid to other areas of the body.
How and Why Is ETV Performed?
During an ETV, neurosurgeons create a small opening, called a burr hole, through the membrane at the base of the third ventricle. The hole is similar to that used when placing a shunt. It is usually in front of the skull just behind the hairline. A state-of-the-art endoscope between two and five millimeters long is placed within the ventricular system and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) then flows out of the obstructed area into the interpenducular cistern, a normal space for CSF absorption.
ETV has shown to have fewer complications than extracranial shunts in some patients. The procedure is meant to be a one-time operation as where shunts may require successive procedures to deal with problems pertaining to blockage, infection and over-drainage.
ETV is the best option for patients who have pure ventricle obstructions, such as aqueductal stenosis, or brain tumors. Patients who have developed an obstructive form of hydrocephalus, regardless of a pre-existing shunt procedure, also typically respond well to ETV. Third ventriculostomy is a complementary procedure suitable for select patients and is proven to be an effective alternative to shunt placements that exacerbate over time.
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Highly-skilled and experienced neurosurgeons which perform minimal invasive neurosurgery at IGEA Brain & Spine, P.A. are a phone call or form away. Treatment in New Jersey for you or your child is possible at 908-379-3998.