Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Placement For Hydrocephalus In Children


  • A ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt is needed to treat hydrocephalus . Hydrocephalus is the build up of too much fluid in the brain. This fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The CSF is made in a part of the brain called the ventricles . If there is too much CSF in the ventricles they will become larger than normal. This can put extra pressure on the brain. The VP shunt will drain the extra CSF out of the ventricles. It will also decrease the pressure on the brain. The shunt surgery is done by a neurosurgeon . Ask your child's caregiver for the CareNotes™ handout about hydrocephalus for more information.

  • Most children with hydrocephalus need to have a VP shunt for the rest of their lives. It may need to be replaced or revised (fixed) if it is not working properly. If a shunt was put in a baby, it may need to be replaced when the child is older. This is done because the tubing needs to be longer in an older child. Many shunts that are put in now are longer. This means the shunt will not need to be replaced as the child grows.


  • Keep a written list of what medicines your child takes and when and why your child takes them. Bring the list of your child's medicines or the pill bottles when you visit your child's caregivers. Ask your child's caregiver for more information about the medicines. Do not give any medicines to your child without first asking your child's caregiver. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.

  • Always give your child's medicine as directed by caregivers. Call your child's caregiver if you think your child's medicines are not helping. If you feel your child is having side effects, do not quit giving the medicines until you discuss it with your child's caregiver. If your child is taking antibiotics, give them until they are all gone. Even if your child seems to feel better.

  • Never give aspirin to your child without first asking your child's caregiver. Giving aspirin to your child when he is ill may cause a very serious illness called Reye's syndrome. Read medicine labels to see if your child's medicine has aspirin.


Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.


Your child may need to rest after surgery. Your child's caregiver will tell you when your child can return to regular activities. Talk to your child's caregiver if you have any questions.


Feed your child healthy food from all of the 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, breads, dairy products, meat and fish. Eating healthy foods may help your child feel better and have more energy. It may also help your child get better faster.


  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child has a painful headache that does not go away with medicine.

  • Your child suddenly starts vomiting.

  • Your child is sleepier than usual.

  • The incisions from surgery become swollen, red, more painful, or have pus coming from them. This may mean they are infected.

  • Your child's stitches or staples holding the incision together come apart.

  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash. Your child's medicine may be causing these symptoms. This may mean your child is allergic to some of the medicine.

  • You have questions or concerns about your child's surgery, care, or medicine.


  • Your child starts having trouble breathing all of a sudden.

  • Your child has a bandage and it becomes soaked in blood or clear fluid.

  • Your child has trouble thinking clearly, is very fussy, or is hard to awaken.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.