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A laparoscopic approach to ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement with a novel fixation method for distal shunt catheter in the treatment of hydrocephalus.

BACKGROUND: The laparoscopically assisted ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt has been widely used in the clinical treatment of hydrocephalus for its simplicity and reliability. Despite significant improvements in shunt procedures, shunt complications remain common. Our clinical experiences suggest that the fixation of the distal (peritoneal) shunt catheter using threads and hemoclips may partially contribute to complications of the distal shunt including obstruction of the shunt and infection. In this study, we explored a novel fixation method in the laparoscopically assisted VP shunt with use of the liver falciform ligament as a natural support for fixation of the distal shunt catheter.

METHODS: 10 patients with hydrocephalus underwent laparoscopically assisted VP shunt and the distal shunt catheter was placed into the hepatodiaphragmatic space and the catheter was traversed through 2-3 drilled holes in the liver falciform ligament without using any artificial material for fixation.

RESULTS: In all the patients who received surgery with the adopted new procedure the clinical symptoms were alleviated. The size of cerebral ventricles returned to normal after 1 week. The distal catheters were in the hepatodiaphragmatic space in 9 of 10 patients, while in 1 patient it migrated to the peritoneal cavity underneath the liver. All the 9 patients were followed up for 1 year and no surgery-related catheter obstructions and infections were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: The modified laparoscopically assisted VP shunt in the treatment of hydrocephalus with fixation of the distal shunt catheter to a natural anatomic structure could potentially reduce the necessity of repeat surgery for addressing the complications caused by catheter obstruction and infections, reduce the chance of adhesions, and would be of benefit to those patients who need future revisions.

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