An Ommaya (say "oh-MY-uh") reservoir is a small, soft, dome-shaped container. It is placed under your scalp. It has a thin tube called a catheter attached to it. The catheter extends into one of the open spaces (ventricles) in your brain. The ventricle is filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF flows around the brain and spinal cord.
The reservoir is a way to deliver medicines, such as chemotherapy or antibiotics, directly to your brain and spinal cord. This type of chemotherapy is called intrathecal chemotherapy. The reservoir can also be used to take samples of CSF for testing. The doctor will put a small needle into the reservoir to give medicine or take samples.
Surgery to place the reservoir takes about an hour. You will get medicine to make you sleep during the surgery.
Your head will be shaved around the surgery area. The surgeon will make a small cut (incision) in your scalp and a small hole in your skull. The catheter is threaded through the hole and into the brain. The surgeon places the reservoir under the scalp. Then the incision is closed with stitches or staples.
You may go home the same day, or you may stay in the hospital overnight. Before you leave, you may have a CT scan to check the placement of the reservoir and catheter.
Your doctor will tell you when to come back for incision care. Usually this is 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.
After the incision heals, the reservoir will not need any special care. You will have a small bump on your head where the reservoir is located.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you 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 health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 28, 2018
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Christian G. Zimmerman, MD, FACS, MBA - Neurological Surgery
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