Your child has hydrocephalus and needed a shunt placed to drain excess fluid and relieve pressure in the brain. This buildup of brain and spinal cord fluid (cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF) and pressure causes the brain tissue to press (become compressed) against the skull. Too much pressure or pressure that is present too long will damage the brain tissue.
Your child had an incision behind their ear and a small hole drilled through the skull. A small incision or cut was also made in the belly. A valve was placed underneath the skin behind the ear. One catheter was placed into the brain to bring the fluid to the valve. Another catheter was connected to the valve and threaded underneath the skin down into your child's belly.
Any stitches or staples that you can see will be taken out in about 7 days.
All parts of the shunt are underneath the skin. At first, the area at the top of the shunt may be raised up underneath the skin. As the swelling goes away and your child's hair grows back, there will be a small raised area about the size of a quarter that will not be noticeable.
Do not shower or shampoo your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head until their stitches and staples have been taken out. Give your child a sponge bath instead. The wound should not soak in water at all until the skin is completely healed.
Do not push on the part of the shunt that you can feel or see underneath your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s skin behind the ear.
Your child should be able to eat their normal diet when they go home.
Your child should be able to do most activities.
Your child may have some pain when they go home. Children under 4 years old may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Children age 4 and older may be prescribed stronger pain medicines, if needed.
The major problems to watch for are an infected shunt and a blocked shunt.
Call your childÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s doctor if your child has:
Shunt - ventriculoperitoneal - discharge; VP shunt - discharge; Shunt revision - discharge