The standard treatment for NPH is through surgical implantation of a
Excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain is diverted to another bodily site and allows the
brain to recover. “Shunt surgery, which takes less than an hour, can produce dramatic results,”
says Dr. Osborn, who has performed hundreds of shunt procedures.
One of Dr. Osborn’s patients was an 85-year-old woman with chronic back problems.
She could only walk with the aid of a walker despite multiple low back surgeries.
Physical examination revealed a “magnetic” gait, mild dementia and urinary incontinence.
A CAT scan of the brains showed hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the cavities of the brain).
A special test known as a “lumbar puncture”
eliminated some of the excess fluid and caused a marked improvement in her gait.
A shunt operation was proposed.
“The syndrome is too often overlooked,” stresses Dr. Osborn.
“When we implant the shunt, changes are often observed during the initial twenty-four hours postoperatively,”
says Dr. Osborn. And the advent of programmable shunt valves significantly increases the probability of shunt
implantation being a one-time procedure (by reducing the incidence of complications
associated with shunt implantation).
These valves have multiple programmable choices for the physician to optimize the
pressure setting and control fluid drainage.
Further reducing the morbidity of the procedure is the fact that the shunt is placed into
the abdominal cavity with the use of a laparoscope (camera).
This minimizes the abdominal incisions and results in less postoperative pain.
Also the shunt catheter may be placed in a more strategic location which may reduce the
incidence of shunt malfunction (blockage), according to Dr.Osborn.