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1- Introduction

2- Anatomical Overview

3- Causes

4- Treatment 


Hydrocephalus is a condition characterized by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the cavities (ventricles) of the brain. This buildup of fluid can lead to increased pressure on the brain tissue, potentially causing damage to the brain and impairing its function

Anatomical Overview

Relevant anatomical structures and their involvement in hydrocephalus:

Ventricular System

  1. Lateral Ventricles:

    • Location: Located in each cerebral hemisphere of the brain.
    • Function: Produce and circulate cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is produced by the choroid plexus within the lateral ventricles.
  2. Third Ventricle:

    • Location: Located in the midline of the brain, beneath the lateral ventricles and above the brainstem.
    • Connection: Connects with the lateral ventricles via the interventricular foramina (of Monro).
  3. Fourth Ventricle:

    • Location: Located between the brainstem and the cerebellum.
    • Connection: Connected to the third ventricle via the cerebral aqueduct (aqueduct of Sylvius).
© image from Radiopaedia


    • Obstruction: Blockage that prevents CSF from flowing freely within the brain. This obstruction can occur due to:

      • Tumors
      • Congenital abnormalities (e.g., aqueductal stenosis, where the narrow passageway between ventricles is blocked)
      • Infections (e.g., meningitis)
      • Hemorrhage (bleeding within the brain)
    • Impaired Absorption: Failure of the brain to reabsorb CSF properly. This can result from conditions such as:

      • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
      • Meningitis
      • Head trauma
    • Idiopathic: In some cases, the cause of hydrocephalus may not be clearly identified (idiopathic).


    • Surgical Options:

      • Shunt Placement: A surgical procedure to implant a shunt system that diverts excess CSF from the ventricles to another part of the body (e.g., abdomen), where it can be absorbed.
      • Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV): A less invasive procedure where a small hole is made in the floor of the third ventricle to allow CSF to flow out of the obstructed ventricular system.
    • Medications: Sometimes used to reduce CSF production temporarily, especially in acute situations.

    • Monitoring and Management: Regular follow-up visits to monitor shunt function, manage complications, and adjust treatment as needed.

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