Hydrocelectomy: What You Need to Know

Hydrocelectomy: What You Need to Know

What Is a Hydrocephalus?

A hydrocephalus is a condition where the brain does not fill out properly due to swelling or pressure on the skull. It causes problems with your thinking and memory. This condition may cause difficulty in learning new things, such as how to drive a car or even remembering what day it is! A person with a hydrocephalus will have some loss of mental function, but usually no permanent damage. However, if left untreated, it can lead to other problems like epilepsy or even death.

How Does Hydrocephaly Occur?

The exact reason why one develops hydrocephalus is still unknown. There are several theories including genetics and environmental factors. Some studies suggest that there might be a genetic link, while others say that it could be caused by a combination of genes and environment. Other studies show no connection between either factor.

There are many different types of hydrocephalus, which include:

Type I – This type occurs when the brain grows too much during pregnancy or early development. Type I cases are rare because they occur only in males.

Type II – This is caused by a problem in the circulatory system of the brain. The ventricles of the brain fill up with spinal fluid.

Type III – This form is called normal pressure hydrocephalus and accounts for 90% of all cases. It is caused when the brain does not produce enough cerebrospinal fluid.

There are also other types of hydrocephalus, but these three are most common.

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms vary from person to person. The most common ones are:

Headache

Staggering when walking

Dizziness

Personality changes

Memory loss

Increased sweating

Bladder problems (having to urinate more than usual)

Vision problems

How Is It Treated?

There are several ways to treat a hydrocephalus. The most common treatment is a surgical procedure called a ventricular shunt. A shunt is a tube that is placed in between two chambers in your brain to drain the excess spinal fluid. This can be done by drilling a hole in the skull or by doing an endoscopic procedure. An endoscopic procedure is done with the help of a telescope-like instrument called an endoscope. There are some risks that come along with this type of surgery, such as infection or even more severe headaches.

What Else Should I Know?

There are some things that you can do to prevent or even reverse a hydrocephalus. These things include:

Exercising – This helps in keeping your brain healthy and fit. There is evidence that aerobic exercises help in increasing the size of the ventricles of the brain.

Diet – A diet that is rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins has been known to help in the prevention of some types of hydrocephalus.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight – Carrying extra weight has been shown to worsen a type of hydrocephalus called normal pressure hydrocephalus

Avoid Smoking and Drinking – These have been known to contribute to several types of hydrocephalus.

What Is Hydrocephalus?

(NWH Publication)

What is a ventricular shunt and how does it work?

A ventricular shunt is a medical device used to treat hydrocephalus, a condition in which the brain’s ventricles (cavities) fill with fluid. The fluid can increase pressure on the brain and cause a range of impairments. A shunt is a tube that diverts excess fluid from the brain to another area of the body, relieving the pressure on the brain.

How does it work?

A shunt consists of three parts: One part in the ventricles of the brain, one part outside of the brain, and a connecting piece in between. The fluid that builds up in the brain’s cavities must be drained so it doesn’t put pressure on the rest of the brain. The shunt is placed in one of the ventricles, and drains into another area of the body, such as the abdomen, which has a lot of space and contains tissue that can absorb a large amount of fluid. The fluid then leaves the body through a tube that goes from the abdomen and into the skin. There is also a valve inside the shunt that prevents the flow of fluid in the reverse direction.

What are some of the different types of shunts?

There are three main types:

Ventriculoatrial (VA) – These shunts divert the flow of cerebrospinal fluid into the heart, where it is then circulated through the body. They are usually used in more complicated surgeries when there is a risk of significant head trauma.

Ventriculovenous (VV) – These shunts divert the flow of the cerebrospinal fluid directly into veins in the brain.

Arteriovenous (AV) – These types are similar to ventriculovenous shunts, but allow for a greater volume of flow and are used when other types of shunts won’t work.

What are some common complications with shunts?

Complications can sometimes occur, such as blockages or infections. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but if a shunt is blocked it will have to be replaced.

How do you get a shunt?

Surgeries to implant shunts are usually done by a neurosurgeon and require an overnight stay in the hospital. Before the surgery, you will meet with a surgeon to get an idea of whether you are a candidate for the surgery and how it works. They will also explain the risks and benefits to you, and you can ask them any questions you have about the surgery.

For most people, a shunt is an effective treatment for hydrocephalus and its side effects. If your shunt needs to be replaced or another type of surgery is necessary, your physician will discuss this with you in advance.

What is a shunt?

A shunt is a medical device that is placed into someone’s brain either during birth or later in life to help drain excess spinal fluid in and around the brain. The excess spinal fluid can build up and put pressure on the brain, causing a variety of symptoms.

Shunts are one treatment option for hydrocephalus, which is a build-up of spinal fluid in the brain. Other treatment options include medications, special diets, and surgical procedures other than shunts.

How does a shunt work?

They redirect the excess spinal fluid from the brain into another area of the body where there is less risk for harm. The fluid then leaves the body through a tube that goes from the body and into the skin. They are a fairly common treatment option for hydrocephalus and the symptoms it can cause.

What are some types of shunts?

There are several types of shunts. Some of the most common include:

Ventriculovential (VV) – These are used when the problem is caused by too much cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, which are the lower chambers of the brain that are present at the base. There is a valve attached to this shunt that helps drain the excess fluid.

Atrial shunt – These are used when the problem is caused by too much cerebrospinal fluid in the brain’s sagittal sinus, which is a cavity that runs across the top of the head. This shunt has an opening that allows the excess fluid to drain into the atrium, or upper chamber of the heart.

Pump shunt – These are used when other medical treatments have failed to relieve pressure caused by too much spinal fluid in the brain. A pump is attached to this shunt and it works automatically, allowing the excess spinal fluid to drain into another part of the body when necessary.

Ventriculoventricular (J) shunt – This type of shunt allows for more flexibility than a typical ventriculoventricular shunt.

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Lymphatic filariasis related perceptions and practices on the coast of Ghana: implications for prevention and control by CK Ahorlu, SK Dunyo, KA Koram, FK Nkrumah… – Acta Tropica, 1999 – Elsevier

Hydrocele repair (child) by H Australia – 2019 – healthdirect.gov.au

Clinical Remarks on Cases of Hydrocele by JCO Will – Edinburgh medical journal, 1881 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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