Hydrocephalus is the name for the expansion of the inner cavities of the brain. Usually, it is caused by a blockage of cerebrospinal fluid outflow (CSF). But also malfunctioning resorption of cerebrospinal fluid following cerebral hemorrhage or infection and increased production can lead to hydrocephalus.
In infants and children where the cranial sutures have not yet closed, this can lead to an increase in circumference of the skull and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure.
In the so-called “emerging markets”, hydrocephalus is a common disease. This is due to malnutrition, infectious diseases and the lack of prenatal examination possibilities. The hydrocephalus is often associated with other defects such as spina bifida with meningomyeloceles (“open back”) or encephalocele (protrusions of the cerebral membranes or the brain itself). Many children die from these diseases because adequate treatment is too expensive or doctors are not trained for this. Depending on the cause of hydrocephalus, there are generally two treatment options, one is the creation of cerebrospinal fluid drainage systems, so-called “shunts”, the other is the neuroendoscopic surgical method.