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Ventriculostomy introduces a drainage hole in the base of one of the ventricles of the brain so that excess fluid can drain through to the base of the brain, relieving pressure within the skull. Neurosurgeons at The London Clinic are able to perform a ventriculostomy using conventional brain surgery or using endoscopic techniques.

A ventriculostomy to relieve hydrocephalus can also be done with the addition of a stent, a small catheter that is used to keep the drainage hole open:

  • An external ventricular drain is a temporary catheter that is later removed.
  • A ventricular peritoneal shunt carries excess fluid into the peritoneum, the abdominal cavity.
  • A ventriculoatrial shunt takes the fluid directly into one of the upper chambers of the heart.

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy

An endoscopic third ventriculostomy does not require the skull to be opened. It is a less invasive treatment for hydrocephalus in which a small hole is made behind the hairline above the forehead. The endoscope is passed through this hole in the skull, through the brain and is used to pierce a small hole in the membrane that lies just under the third ventricle in the brain. Fluid then drains into the subarachnoid space.

Endoscopic ventriculostomy is not suitable in all cases of hydrocephalus, however, and sometimes the effects of endoscopic ventriculostomy are not long-lasting making it necessary to insert a shunt.

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