Hydrocephalus Specialist

Center for Neurosurgery Las Vegas

Neurosurgery & Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Neurosurgeon located in Las Vegas, NV

Hydrocephalus is the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in your brain’s ventricles; it can develop at any age, but it’s most common in older adults. At the Center for Neurosurgery Las Vegas, board-certified neurosurgeon Scott Glickman, DO, FACOS, can help you continue to live a healthy life with surgery to treat hydrocephalus. To learn more, call the office in Las Vegas, Nevada, or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment.

Hydrocephalus Q & A

What is hydrocephalus?

Inside your brain, you have four interconnected cavities called ventricles. They produce cerebrospinal fluid that flows through the ventricles and is reabsorbed by your body.

The ventricular system serves as a shock absorber for your brain. It also delivers nutrients to your brain and removes wastes.

Hydrocephalus occurs when too much cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain’s ventricles, leading to excessive pressure on your brain.

What causes hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus most often occurs when the brain can’t absorb enough cerebrospinal fluid to maintain a balance with the amount being produced. In many cases, the problem develops due to bleeding in the brain. You can also develop hydrocephalus when the ventricular system is blocked.

You can acquire hydrocephalus at any age due to:

  • Stroke
  • Head injuries
  • Brain tumors
  • Bleeding within the brain
  • Brain infections such as meningitis

Hydrocephalus may also be inherited or develop in association with developmental disorders such as spina bifida

What symptoms might I develop due to hydrocephalus?

The symptoms caused by hydrocephalus vary, depending on your age, disease severity and progression, and how well your brain tolerates the pressure. Infants born with hydrocephalus have an unusually large head.

Adults experience symptoms such as:

  • A headache followed by vomiting
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Gait disturbances (walk with a shuffle)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Changes in personality

Your exact symptoms also depend on the nature of your hydrocephalus -- whether it resulted from injury or disease, issues with the production of cerebrospinal fluid, or a degenerative disease. 

How is hydrocephalus treated?

Dr. Glickman treats hydrocephalus by inserting a shunt to carry excess cerebrospinal fluid out of the brain or by creating a small opening in one of the ventricles to help the fluid drain.

The shunt is a flexible tube placed under the skin to drain the excess cerebrospinal fluid into another cavity in the body. The shunt system usually stays in place your whole life and is adjusted as needed.

If something like a tumor is causing the blockage, it’s removed. Some people require both treatments to successfully resolve hydrocephalus.

A less common treatment is an endoscopic third ventriculostomy. During this procedure, Dr. Glickman uses a tube with a tiny camera on its end (an endoscope) to view the ventricles and create a new pathway to allow cerebrospinal fluid flow.

If you develop headaches, balance problems, gait disturbances, or any other symptom of hydrocephalus, call the Center for Neurosurgery Las Vegas or book an appointment online.