Congenital Hydrocephalus

Congenital hydrocephalus generally isn't treated until after birth, even if diagnosed in the womb. The condition most often is treated by removing the cause of the condition, such as a tumor or other blockage, or inserting a shunt. A shunt is a small flexible plastic tube that diverts excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the brain to another part of the body where the fluid can be reabsorbed.

Some children can be treated with an alternative procedure called endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). In this procedure, a small hole is made in the floor of the third ventricle of the brain, allowing the cerebrospinal fluid to bypass the obstruction and flow toward the area where it can be reabsorbed by the body.

Your child's medical team will design a treatment plan tailored to your child's specific needs and that may include more than one kind of treatment. You and your child may be referred to additional doctors or other medical professionals. Any possible risks or complications from your child's treatments will be explained to you in detail.

Hydrocephalus can pose risks to both mental and physical development. Many children diagnosed with the disorder benefit from rehabilitation and educational programs, and go on to lead normal lives.

Ask your doctors, nurses or therapists about the treatments your child will receive. If treatment includes medication, be sure your child takes it as instructed. And remember to bring your child to all follow-up appointments requested by our doctors or other medical staff.

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