Hydrocephalus Recovery & Rehabilitation


Our vigilance with our hydrocephalus patients is ongoing. It is important to maintain a close connection with your medical team during your recovery and rehabilitation period after your surgery.


This support system will become especially important in cases of an emergency shunt malfunction or if there is an infection. We educate our patients to become vigilant for any signs of malfunction, which we explain below.


Shunt Maintenance After Surgery

At ANA, we are focused on the importance of follow-up care after shunt surgery. As part of our shunt maintenance, patients are reevaluated on a regular basis or as needed in the presence of any post-surgical signs, symptoms or concerns, with or without imaging.


All patients and/or caregivers are educated to understand any shunt-related symptoms and encouraged to contact ANA with any concerns.


Recovery Time After Shunt Surgery

At ANA, we are pioneers in minimally invasive surgery techniques for hydrocephalus. Surgery is a quick procedure, usually less than an hour. Recovery from a VP shunt placement takes about one to two days.


Shunt Malfunctions

Statistics show that an estimated 50% of shunts fail within two years, and 20–50% of ETVs close up within five years.


Infection may be less common but does occur. In the case of any problem or malfunction, the sooner care is sought, the better the chance of a successful outcome.


What Are the Signs of a Shunt Malfunction?

Although a shunt works well and saves lives, we recognize that complications can occur with its use.


Shunt complications include:

  • malfunction (shunt failure)
  • blockages
  • infection
  • a shunt may disconnect or break
  • a shunt may become too short or less effective over time or, for example with children, if the patient grows.


Our neurosurgeons are fully equipped to help avoid and rectify any shunt problems.


Symptoms below represent possible shunt malfunction:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy (sleepiness)
  • Irritability
  • Swelling or redness along the shunt tract
  • Seizures
  • Fever
  • Weakness or gait issues
  • Incontinence
  • Periods of confusion
  • Decreased school performance


It is important to note that more subtle signs of shunt malfunction can include:

  • fatigue
  • behavioral changes
  • lethargy
  • a decline in academic performance.


Hydrocephalus Maintenance

As we explain to those with hydrocephalus and their families, this condition can obviously affect physical, as well as cognitive development.


Our goal at ANA is to utilize our team approach for patients to benefit from educational and rehabilitation services that supplement our treatment. Our compassionate and conscientious team ensures that we guide and support patients and their families through the entire process.


Life with Hydrocephalus

Hear from one of our patients about recovering from hydrocephalus after meeting Dr. Arno Fried.