what is hydrocephalus

What is Hydrocephalus? Its Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Hydrocephalus, a prevalent neurological disorder, arises from an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain, affecting individuals of all ages. Recognizing its causes, symptoms, and treatments is paramount for effective management. Whether hydrocephalus in newborn or seniors, its impact spans across demographics, manifesting in diverse neurological complications. 

But understanding this condition enables early identification and personalized interventions, enhancing the quality of life for those afflicted. Mastery of hydrocephalus empowers both medical professionals and families to confront its complexities, fostering improved outcomes and care strategies.

What Is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a condition which builds up fluid inside the brain’s ventricles, that triggers swelling and pressure on surrounding tissue, and it’s risking brain function impairment. It affects all ages, but newborns and those over 60 are mostly affected by this disease. It usually leads to frequent brain surgery in children, and its presence at birth may cause lifelong intellectual and physical disabilities.

Hydrocephalus Causes

Hydrocephalus may stem from congenital factors or head trauma, but it often results from various underlying medical conditions. Common causes include:

  • Spina Bifida: It’s a neural tube that’s usually defected during development.
  • Brain Tumors: Occur as an abnormal growth in brain.
  • Meningitis: Inflammation affects brain membranes, causing discomfort and potentially severe complications.
  • Spinal Cord Infections: Infection targeting spinal cord, leading to various neurological complications.
  • Intraventricular Hemorrhage: This causes recognition of bleeding within the brain’s ventricles.
  • Aqueductal Stenosis: The narrowing of the brain’s aqueduct.
  • Brain Malformations: It recognized as abnormal brain structure development.

Hydrocephalus Symptoms

Symptoms of hydrocephalus vary by age. Common signs include:

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus in Babies:

  • Baby’s head appears unusually large
  • Noticeable bulge in fontanelle (soft spot)
  • Rapid increase in head circumference
  • Frequent episodes of vomiting observed
  • Persistent sleepiness in the baby
  • Poor feeding habits and slow growth
  • Increased irritability and fussiness
  • Issues with muscle tone development
  • Seizures occurring in the baby

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus in Older Children:

  • Frequent headaches troubling older children
  • Notable decline in coordination skills
  • Experiencing blurred vision occasionally
  • Reduced appetite noticed in older children
  • Instances of urinary incontinence observed
  • Deterioration in school performance noticed
  • Notable changes in personality traits

Symptoms of Hydrocephalus in Adults:

  • Occasional urinary incontinence in adults
  • Memory lapses become more frequent
  • Vision impairment becomes noticeable gradually
  • Altered walking pattern becomes apparent
  • Persistent headaches troubling the adult individual
  • Decline in reasoning abilities becomes evident

Hydrocephalus Treatment

Early detection and intervention are crucial for managing hydrocephalus effectively. Treatment options include:

Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt (VP Shunting) Surgery:

The ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery entails placing a tube in the brain to drain excess fluid, rerouting it to the abdomen or chest for easier absorption.

During this procedure, a surgeon creates a pathway for fluid flow by puncturing a membrane in the brain’s third ventricle. A small video camera allows visualization inside the brain to guide the operation.

Choroid Plexus Cauterization (CPC):

In this procedure, the surgeon burns choroid plexus tissue, allowing trapped fluid within brain ventricles to escape into normal pathways.


Hydrocephalus poses significant challenges, yet with timely diagnosis and proper treatment, individuals can lead fulfilling lives. If you suspect hydrocephalus in a loved one, seek hydrocephalus therapy promptly. Understanding the condition and available treatments empowers informed decisions, supporting their journey towards recovery and an improved quality of life. For expert guidance, consult a reputable neurosurgeon in Dubai, like Dr. Arun Rajeswaran, to address this serious condition and rejuvenate your life.

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Dr. Arun Rajeswaran

Consult Dr. Arun with a professional experience of more than 13 years in the field of Neurosurgery

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