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 his or her head may begin 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 cannot be felt underneath 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.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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