Spinal Fluid Drainage

Why is Spinal Fluid Drainage Needed for Hydrocephalus?

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is treated by draining excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) or “spinal fluid” that has accumulated within cavities called ventricles inside the brain. When excess fluid builds up, the ventricles become enlarged, which causes a number of different symptoms as fluid is pressed against the brain. This extra fluid can affect the shape of the brain and lead to brain damage if treatment is delayed or if a patient with normal pressure hydrocephalus is left untreated due to a misdiagnosis.

70% to 90% of treated patients who are treated for normal pressure hydrocephalus have lasting clinical benefits after shunting when compared to their preoperative state. 

Read on to learn more about Los Angeles spinal fluid drainage, or schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today.

What are the Symptoms of NPH?

Those with an excess amount of cerebrospinal fluid present with symptoms similar to that of patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The three main symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus include:

This can range in severity, from mild imbalance to the inability to stand or walk. Many patients may have trouble picking up their feet, walking up stairs or curbs and they may have frequent falls. They may also walk with their feet held wider apart than normal, shuffle their feet or have general unsteadiness.

This includes an overall slowing of thought process, impaired reasoning or planning ability, a decrease in concentration and/or changes in personality and behavior.

Symptoms include frequent urination, increase in urgency, or incontinence.

Who is Affected by Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus?

Normal pressure hydrocephalus, though rare, most often affects adults 60 and older, and its symptoms may often lead to misdiagnoses of dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease by doctors unfamiliar with normal pressure hydrocephalus. The symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus mimic:

  • Dementia symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s
  • Walking problems

Patients with a combination of dementia symptoms, walking problems, and bladder problems should be evaluated for normal pressure hydrocephalus to ensure that the correct diagnosis is made.

Getting the Correct Diagnosis

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is a progressive medical condition with symptoms that many associate with normal aging and typical diseases found in the elderly. Due to the similarity in symptoms between patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus and those with dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus often be misdiagnosed.

To confirm that a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease is correct we recommend that patients be evaluated by a specialist who has a complete and thorough understanding of normal pressure hydrocephalus and the forms of reversible “dementia”.

Our neurologists evaluate patients and ensure proper diagnosis by:

  • Reviewing past medical records and any MRI or CT scans
  • Ordering a neurological examinations
  • Conduct diagnostic procedures

Schedule your visit today with one of our specialists to learn more about treatment options for dementia, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

The Spinal Fluid Drainage Hydrocephalus Procedure in Los Angeles

While there is no cure for normal pressure hydrocephalus it is treatable and by draining 

the excess spinal fluid that has accumulated. Once a proper medical evaluation is completed and the doctor has confirmed the diagnosis of normal pressure hydrocephalus, surgery can be performed to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain on an ongoing basis.

Follow-up appointments are typically required to detect subtle changes after surgery and to address other medical conditions they may have.

Meet With Our Specialists

Our highly experienced doctors, state of the art technology, world-renowned personalized care, and numerous clinical trials allow us to provide our patients with the highest standard of neurological treatments in the world. We invite you to schedule a consultation with our experts today!

neurological associates's dr. marisa chang and dr. sheldon jordan