Ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VP shunts) are essentially a piece of tubing which drain the excess fluid off the brain to a different part of the body (the peritoneum, within the abdomen or belly), which absorbs this fluid. Nearly all shunts have a valve which regulates flow (so that too much or too little drainage does not occur) – we have generally used the adjustable valve (which can be adjusted from outside, without opening the skin, using a magnet). Shunts are placed for various types of hydrocephalus (communicating hydrocephalus, obstructive hydrocephalus, normal pressure hydrocephalus, pseudotumor cerebri, and others). Other types of locations of shunts we have placed include ventriculo-pleural shunts, ventriculo-atrial shunts, and lumbo-peritoneal or lumbo-pleural shunts. The success rate is generally good, with generally low risk. Shunts are one of the more commonly performed procedures in our practice.
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