There is no known way to prevent or cure hydrocephalus. Treatment will vary depending on what is causing the fluid to collect.
- Removing fluid to reduce the pressure inside the brain. This provides only temporary relief.
- Surgery to put in a shunt to remove the spinal fluid. This is done when the condition is getting worse and putting growing pressure on the brain and skull. Not all forms of hydrocephalus get worse. Less invasive procedures, such as endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), are growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional surgery.
After treatment, a child will need ongoing monitoring as he or show grows to ensure that infections do not develop. Hydrocephalus is often associated either with Dandy-Walker cysts or the Arnold-Chiari malformation. Chiari malformation is often associated with spinal bifida and syringomyelia, but it may also occur on its own. Both of these involve major malformations of the base of the brain where it connects with the spinal cord. In either case, a shunt is usually used to reduce the fluid buildup.