Congenital Hydrocephalus

Prenatal Diagnosis

With sophisticated imaging technologies, congenital hydrocephalus can be detected in a fetus as early as the third or fourth month of pregnancy. By the fifth or sixth month, abnormal dilation of brain cavities is more clearly detectable. Tests to identify the condition before your baby is born include:

  • Amniocentesis -- This, or a needle aspiration of intrauterine fluid, may be performed to detect the presence of other birth defects associated with hydrocephalus.
  • Ultrasound -- Performed by a radiologist or perinatologist, this test will establish if there is an abnormal collection of fluid but may not show the obstruction.

Postnatal Diagnosis

Congenital hydrocephalus can be detected before birth, but it is more often diagnosed at birth or shortly after. To make a diagnosis, our experts thoroughly evaluate your child's physical condition.

Your child's evaluation may include imaging techniques such as ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or pressure-monitoring techniques.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Pediatric Brain Center

Neurosurgery Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7500
Fax: (415) 353-2889
Appointment information

Child and Adolescent Neurology Clinic
1825 Fourth St., Fifth Floor, 5A
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-7596
Fax: (415) 353-2400
Appointment information

Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery (NICN)
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202