Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt -- Child

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.

  • Call Your Child’s Doctor


    After your child leaves the hospital, contact the doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Symptoms that went away return
    • Stiff neck
    • Headache
    • Irritability
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
    • Vomiting (which may be a sign of the shunt not working)
    • Pain that is not controlled with the medicines your child has been given
    • Vision problems
    • Being very sleepy
    • Confusion
    • Developmental delays
    • Not eating or drinking enough

    Call for emergency medical services right away for:

    • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
    • Blue or gray skin color
    • Not waking up or not interacting
    • Not wanting to be held
    • Seizures

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    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.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure


    This type of shunt is used to treat
    hydrocephalus, an condition that results in excess 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.

    Hydrocephalus
    Nucleus factsheet image
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  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your child's doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • 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