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Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Placement For Hydrocephalus In Children


Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement is surgery to help remove excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in your child's brain.


The week before your child's surgery:

  • Write down the date, time, and location of your child's surgery.
  • When you take your child to see his caregiver, bring a list of his medicines or the medicine bottles. Tell caregivers if your child uses herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine. If your child is allergic to any medicine, tell his caregiver.
  • Ask your child's healthcare provider if your child needs to stop using certain medicines before his procedure or surgery.
  • Your child may need blood tests before surgery. Talk to your child's healthcare provider about these or other tests your child may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your child's surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your child's surgery:

  • Ask before you give your child any medicine on the day of his surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines your child takes, or his pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Your child will have an IV tube placed in a vein. He may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you and your child before the surgery. Your child may need medicine to keep him asleep or numb an area of his body during surgery. Tell caregivers if anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • A small area of hair on your child's head will be cut or shaved. Two small incisions will be made. One incision will be in your child's head and the other in his abdomen. One end of a shunt will be placed into your child's brain into one of the ventricles that has the excess CSF. This end of the shunt will be connected to a valve that controls the amount of CSF that goes through the shunt. Near the valve is a reservoir or pump. This pump that lies right under his scalp. This pump can be pressed by healthcare providers to check how the shunt is working.
  • Connected to the valve on the shunt is a catheter (tube). This catheter is tunneled under your child's skin, from his head to his peritoneal cavity (the area around the organs in his abdomen). The CSF will empty into his peritoneal cavity. It will be quickly absorbed into his blood. Some teenagers or tall children may need a small third incision made near the collarbone. Your child's incisions may be closed with staples or stitches. Bandages may be placed over the incisions.

After your child's surgery:

Your child will be taken to a room to rest until he is fully awake. He will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not let your child get out of bed until his healthcare provider says it is okay. He will then be taken to his hospital room.


  • Your child cannot make it to his surgery.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child's symptoms get worse.


Your child's tube may become blocked or move out of place, and he may need another surgery. Your child could have bleeding into his brain, and he may need surgery to treat it. He may get an infection at the incision site or a more serious infection in his brain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.