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Can surgery for congenital hydrocephalus cause complications?

Surgery for congenital hydrocephalus usually involves the insertion of a device called a shunt into part of the brain, and sometimes problems with the shunt cause complications. Made up of a valve and a thin plastic tube called a catheter, the shunt controls the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a fluid that is necessary for the normal functioning of the brain and spinal cord. The shunt allows excess CSF to be siphoned off from the brain into another part of the body. Sometimes a shunt becomes clogged or breaks. There is also a risk of infection in the areas around the shunt. Sometimes a malfunction in the shunt can cause the CSF to drain too quickly or not fast enough. When the CSF drains faster than the body can produce it, serious complications can occur, including bleeding in the brain and other problems. If the CSF is not draining fast enough, hydrocephalus symptoms may reappear. Problems with a shunt often require the shunt to be repaired or replaced by a surgeon. Medical attention should be sought right away if problems with a shunt are suspected.

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