Hydrocephalus is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid on the brain. This buildup of fluid, which normally flows around the spinal column and brain, increases fluid pressure on the brain tissue. Hydrocephalus is often related to poor or obstructed spinal fluid absorption and rarely due to fluid overproduction. “Water on the brain” is a common way to describe hydrocephalus, and, left untreated, it can cause irreversible brain damage and death.
Receive world-class neurological testing and treatment for conditions such as hydrocephalus in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals. Find a Doctor to learn more today.
Symptoms of Hydrocephalus
The signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus depend on how much fluid is present and the age of the person affected. Infants born with hydrocephalus or young babies may have:
- A larger-than-normal head
- Rapid growth in the size of the head
- Bulging of the soft spot (fontanel) on the top of the head
Other signs and symptoms in people of all ages with hydrocephalus include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurry vision
- Changes in personality
- Thinking and memory problems
- Balance problems
- Bladder control problems
See a doctor promptly for signs and symptoms of hydrocephalus. Call 911 for possible hydrocephalus in infants and young children.
Causes of Hydrocephalus
A buildup of cerebrospinal fluid creates pressure on the brain because it is not able to drain as it should. The most common cause is a blockage due to:
- Congenital birth defect, such as spina bifida
- Head injury
- Brain or spinal cord tumor
- Brain or spinal cord infection
Less common causes include overproduction of cerebrospinal fluid or poor absorption of the fluid.
Treatment & Prevention of Hydrocephalus in Las Vegas, NV
Treatment for hydrocephalus is needed to prevent or limit brain damage. The most common treatment uses a shunt to drain the excess fluid. A neurosurgeon inserts a long catheter (narrow tube) into one of the brain’s ventricles (cavities) and threads it down to the heart or abdomen where it can be absorbed. Additional surgery may be necessary if the shunt becomes blocked or does not work properly or, in the case of children, as the body grows.
Some with hydrocephalus may require a procedure called endoscopic third ventriculostomy, which involves a surgeon creating a small hole in the part of the brain called the third ventricle to drain the fluid.
Good prenatal care during pregnancy can reduce the risk of infants born with hydrocephalus. Wearing helmets to prevent head trauma and receiving routine vaccinations to prevent central nervous system infections such as meningitis can also reduce the risk. Talk to a doctor at Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican to learn more about your risk factors.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican cares for patients of all ages with hydrocephalus in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.