Duke pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons offer several proven treatments to care for your child’s hydrocephalus, sometimes called “water on the brain,” including advanced minimally invasive procedures. We aim to keep your child comfortable and your family informed throughout diagnosis and treatment. Ultimately, our goals are to relieve pressure on the brain, prevent damage to brain tissue, and improve your child’s quality of life.
For the best results, it’s important to detect congenital hydrocephalus as early as possible, even before birth. Likewise for acquired hydrocephalus, which is usually the result of bleeding in or around the brain due to injury, a tumor, or infection. Once we are able to determine the cause of your child’s hydrocephalus (be it a blockage, slow absorption, or excess fluid), we’ll be able to create a custom treatment plan for your child.
Head Size and Growth
A pediatric neurologist or neurosurgeon may examine your baby’s head to see if it is larger than normal or is growing too quickly, or if the fontanel (better known as a “soft spot”) is closing too soon.
This test uses sound waves to create images of the brain. This painless test is usually used for babies in utero and very young infants, because other imaging options require babies to lie still for a while.
CT (Computed Tomography)
Using X-rays and measurements, CT scans create images of the brain from many different angles. For this 30-to-60-minute test, your child will be asked to lie still on a bed and should not feel pain.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
This test uses magnets and radio waves to create a high-quality image of the brain to show how much cerebrospinal fluid is present. For this 30-to-60-minute test, your child will be asked to lie still on a bed. While MRI is typically painless, some children may require sedation or even general anesthesia to complete this procedure.
For young children who may have trouble lying still for a traditional MRI, this much-quicker 15-to-30-minute test can be done simultaneously with a CT scan.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Why Choose Duke
Pediatric neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, mental health professionals, and others work together to diagnose and treat your child, address any underlying brain issues, and monitor neurodevelopmental concerns.
Certified Children’s Surgery Center
As defined by the American College of Surgeons, Duke Children’s Hospital is one of only a limited number of Level I Children’s Surgery Centers in the country, and the only one in North Carolina. This designation recognizes our commitment to providing the highest-quality surgical care to our youngest patients.
We have families who are happy to share their experiences with their own children’s diagnosis and treatment for hydrocephalus. We believe making these kinds of connections can keep you from feeling isolated and help you know what to expect.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.