The neurosurgeon will make two or three small incisions to place the shunt valve (usually above or behind the ear). The catheter will be tunneled under the skin. The end of the catheter will be carefully placed in the appropriate receiving cavity (usually the abdomen). Shunt infection is usually caused by a person’s own bacterial organisms and isn’t acquired from other children or adults who are ill. The most common infection is Staphylococcus Epidermidis, which is normally found on the surface of a person’s skin and .
To help drain the extra CSF from your brain, a VP shunt will be placed into your head. The VP shunt works by taking the fluid out of your brain and moving it into your abdomen (belly), where it’s absorbed by your body. This lowers the pressure and swelling in your brain. Figure 2. Most cases of shunt malfunctions occur due to occlusion (blockage) of the proximal ventricular catheter. In these instances, pumping of the shunt will show a valve that is slow to refill, or does not refill at all. An imaging (CT or MRI) scan will show if the ventricles are of normal size and if the shunt is working properly.
The shunt system continuously performs its function of diverting the CSF away from the brain, thereby keeping the intracranial pressure within normal limits. An alternative operation called endoscopic third ventriculostomy may be recommended. VP shunts are likely to require replacement after several years, especially in small children. The average lifespan of an infant’s shunt is two years. Adults and children over the age of 2 may not.