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Hydrocephalus means "water on the brain."
A buildup of cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord causes hydrocephalus. It happens when something — often bleeding from an intraventricular hemorrhage (see below) or an abnormality of the brain or skull — blocks the flow of the fluid. The buildup can create pressure that can damage the brain.
Doctors suspect hydrocephalus if a baby has a particularly large head or if head size increases rapidly. A head ultrasound, CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test can confirm this.
Less serious cases are usually simply monitored, but more severe ones require a surgeon to place a tube in the brain (called a shunt) that drains the fluid from the brain. Sometimes the fluid is drained to the scalp and sometimes into the abdomen.
This depends on the severity of the case. A serious condition may require a stay of several weeks or months, with continued monitoring to watch for potential long-term side effects like developmental delay and seizures.