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What is Hydrocephalus?

Posted Jul 10 2009 12:00am



Hydrocephalus, literally meaning water head by way of Latin roots, is a condition that results in excess cerebrospinal fluid on the brain.

The condition affects me and one in every five hundred children. Though I have only had four shunt related surgeries, there are many children and adults who have had many complications and have had four times the amounts of surgeries I have. The number of complications that someone with hydrocephalus might experience is determined by the severity of their condition.

To monitor the progress and/or complications, doctors will order CT scans and will conduct a thorough examination of the individual's head, neck, and back. In the picture above, you are able to see where the cerebrospinal fluid lies in the hydrocephalic brain.

Here, you will see the differences between a hydrocephalic brain and non-hydrocephalic brain.


There are two types of hydrocephalus. Many people who have the condition acquired it at birth, making it congenital. It is possible, however, for someone to acquire hydrocephalus as a result of a traumatic brain injury that occurs well after birth.

The classification of doctors that treat hydrocephalus is called a neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeon is the technical term for a brain surgeon, and there are pediatric neurosurgeons as well as general neurosurgeons who almost all treat the condition.

To put it in perspective for you, does anyone remember baby Noor, the young baby found in Iraq by Georgia National Guard members in 2006? Baby Noor has spina bifida, which is a genetic birth defect of the spine.

The young child traveled to Atlanta, to the hospital where I also receive treatment, to undergo shunt placement surgery. Take a look at this video of CBSAtlanta news and their conference with the doctor that performed the surgery. Dr. Hudgins, the lead surgeon, is a part of my group of neurosurgeons.

Though this condition does not affect me the way it does some of the other individuals who have it, I understand full well that it is crucial that there be proper care administered to the needs brought about by hydrocephalus.

Should you have any questions, feel free to click the "contact" button on the right hand side of the links bar at the top of my page.

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