Top of the page
Ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery (VP shunt surgery) helps control pressure in the brain by draining extra fluid out of the brain and into the belly. During VP shunt surgery, the doctor placed two small tubes (catheters) and a valve under your child's skin.
After surgery, your child's neck or belly may be tender. But your child should not have much pain. And your child's head may start to get smaller right away.
The area around the stitches or staples may be tender for a week or so. If needed, the doctor will remove your child's stitches or staples 5 to 10 days after surgery.
The shunt will not limit your child's activities. There will be a lump on your child's head where the valve is. This lump may not show when your child's hair grows back. In some cases, the shunt can't be felt under the skin.
It is important to watch for signs of infection or signs that the shunt is not working right. If your child's shunt gets infected or stops working well, it may need to be removed or replaced. Without problems, your child's shunt may be left in place for years.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each child recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if your child has any problems.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter I309 in the search box to learn more about "Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Surgery for Children: What to Expect at Home".
Current as of: February 10, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.