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Ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery (VP shunt surgery) helps control pressure in your brain by draining extra fluid out of your brain and into your belly. During VP shunt surgery, the doctor placed two small tubes (catheters) and a valve under your skin.
After surgery, your neck or belly may feel tender. You will probably feel tired, but you should not have much pain. For a few weeks after surgery, you may have headaches.
It's common to feel some fluid moving around in your scalp. This will go away as your scalp heals. The area around the stitches or staples may feel tender for a week or more. If needed, the doctor will remove your stitches or staples 5 to 10 days after surgery.
The shunt will not limit your activities. There will be a lump on your head where the valve is. This lump may not show when your hair grows back. You may or may not feel the shunt underneath your skin.
In some cases, your doctor may need to adjust your shunt valve so the right amount of fluid is draining. Watch for signs of infection or signs that the shunt is not working right. If the shunt gets infected or stops working well, it may need to be removed or replaced. Without problems, your shunt may be left in place for years.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
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 you have any problems.
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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.
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