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Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Diversion

About Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Diversion

CSF Diversion is a procedure used to treat the accumulation of fluid in the skull and spinal cord causing or caused by a Chiari malformation. Fluid is diverted from the intracranial cavity via a shunt placed under the skin and guided to another region of the body, such as the abdomen, to allow for resorption of the CSF.

Primary Chiari malformation is a condition that you are born with (congenital) and almost never requires cerebrospinal fluid diversion. Secondary Chiari malformation is the result of space occupying lesions inside the skull that distort the brain.  These cases can involve buildup of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus) that require CSF Diversion via placement of shunt.

Goal of Cerebrospinal Fluid Diversion

Those suffering from symptomatic Chiari malformation can experience pressure, muscle weakness, neck pain, headache — this is just the beginning of the list. If these symptoms are due to the buildup of pressure from the accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, CSF Diversion is performed to relieve this pressure and allow sufferers to resume daily activities.

How CSF Diversion Is Performed

CSF Diversion is performed under general anesthesia, so patients are fully asleep during the surgery. The surgeon first creates a small surgical opening in the skull, then guides the shunt into place using anatomic landmarks, stereotactic equipment, or an endoscope. Once it is in place in your head/neck area, the opposite end of the shunt will be threaded into your abdominal cavity, where fluid can drain and be reabsorbed by your body. Various types of shunt hardware are used, determined by your unique case.

Recovery Timeline for Cerebrospinal Fluid Diversion

CSF diversion is an inpatient procedure, requiring a hospital stay for recovery following the surgery.

You should expect that you will be asked to return on a periodic basis for imaging.

You may notice a positive change in your headaches and balance, as well as the lessening of other symptoms shortly after your surgery.

Why Choose Neurosurgeons of New Jersey?

To ensure the best outcome in complicated cases of secondary Chiari malformation, it is imperative that the evaluation and surgical treatment, including CSF Diversion be performed by a specialist who has a proven track record in this area of neurosurgery. Neurosurgeons of New Jersey is comprised of a team of highly specialized doctors and surgeons who bring a great deal of experience to the table. You can trust that you will be receiving top care for your shunt procedure.

Neurosurgeons of New Jersey believes that a key part of your success in and out of the operating room is honest, open communication. You can rely on us to provide you with unparalleled medical care and a personalized approach, whether you’re inquiring about insurance with our billing team or need to talk with your surgeon before and after your surgery. We’re here for you from the moment you book your first appointment.