Shunt Placement/Shunt Revision Discharge Instructions

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About the Surgery

What is a shunt?

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A shunt is a tube placed in the fluid spaces of the brain which drains the excess fluid into another area of the body, most often the abdominal cavity, where it can be absorbed. A valve is attach to the shunt to help regulate the pressure within the fluid spaces of the brain (ventricles).

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Day of the Surgery

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  • Your surgical team will be with you every step of the way
  • You will be in the ICU after your surgery
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After the Surgery

What is the post-op home care for Shunt Placement/Revision?

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Incision Care

  • Wash incision daily with shampoo and water (application of antibiotic ointment not necessary unless instructed by Neurosurgery team)
  • You may scrub incision lightly to help prevent scab formation
  • No beach/pool ( 1st month after surgery) or  until cleared by Neurosurgery
  • Avoid direct sunlight on incision ( May wear a cap or hat to go outside)
  • Do not scratch incision


  • Keep activity level  back to normal or light until you are seen in clinic
  • May return to school  after first week post-surgery, unless not cleared by Neurosurgery
  • No participation in Physical Education for 1 month or until cleared by Neurosurgery

Pain control

  • You may take over the counter medications, which include:
    • Acetaminophen every 4 hours or Motrin every 6 hrs if needed (these medications can be alternating)

Follow-up Office Visit

You will be seen in Neurosurgery office approximately 10-14 days after leaving the hospital for symptom evaluation and suture removal, if sutures are not dissolvable

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When To Call

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  • Fever greater than 101.5°F oral or axillary (between 10 days to a month post-Surgery) Highest incidence of post-surgical infection
  • Headaches not relieved with pain medication, and/or associated with nausea/vomiting
  • Increased swelling, redness or oozing from incision area or along shunt tract
  • Fluid  or swelling around valve or shunt tract
  • Fontanel full and tense on infant  who is upright and quiet
  • Infant less interested in feeding or eyes always looking down or irritability
  • Changes in alertness such as increased sleepiness or inability to wake up or stay awake (this symptom requires urgent attention as it can potentially lead to a coma)
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Questions or Concerns?

Call us @ 305-662-8386

This page was last updated on: November 10, 2020 01:43 PM

Learn more about


Hydrocephalus is primarily an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. There are many cause of hydrocephalus, which can be congenital or acquired in nature. In some children, the cause remains unknown. Learn more

Shunt Placement

A shunt is a valve that is connected to a catheter to divert excess cerebral spinal fluid to another part of the body for absorption. Our neurosurgeons use various types of shunt valves, both fixed pressure and programmable valves to treat hydrocephalus in babies and children. These options are determined based on each patient's individual needs. Learn more