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A ventriculoperitoneal shunt operation is a surgery where a doctor inserts a drainage tube (catheter) into the brain. The tube runs into the abdominal cavity. This tube is used to move extra fluid in the brain to the abdomen where it can be absorbed. The entire tube is under the skin and not visible.
This type of shunt is used to treat hydrocephalus . It happens when there is too much fluid in the brain. Extra fluid can cause increased pressure. This pressure can damage sensitive brain tissues. The shunt drains the extra fluid and reduces pressure on the brain.
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Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If your child is going to have this surgery, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Shunt failure
- Brain swelling
- Blood clot or bleeding in the brain
- Infection in the shunt or brain
- Damage to brain tissue
- Reaction to the anesthesia (eg, light-headedness, low blood pressure, wheezing)
Be sure to discuss these risks with the doctor before the surgery.