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What is cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)?

Cerebrospinal fluid is a colorless fluid that is found surrounding the brain and spinal cord. CSF serves several functions including waste removal, nutrient transportation, and cushioning for the brain and spinal cord. It is produced in the brain and circulates several times per day.

What are the different types of CSF conditions?

At our St. Louis practice we see the following CSF conditions frequently:

  • Hydrocephalus: a condition in which CSF build up of an excessive variety is present within the brain. Generally, either an increase in production of CSF or a decrease in the absorption of CSF is the underlying cause of hydrocephalus. When this occurs it can create harmful pressure on brain tissue and surgical treatment may be required.

  • CSF leak: a cerebrospinal fluid leak happens when CSF slips through a hole or tear in the dura mater (connective tissue) which normally keeps CSF contained. This loss of fluid will cause a lowered pressure system within the skull along with a sinking of the brain resulting in headaches and intracranial hypotension. These leaks can be seen in the brain or along the spinal column.

  • Shunt problems: patients with a history of a shunt implant can have issues as time progresses. The shunt may shift or not be in the ideal position anymore, in which case a neurosurgeon may reposition these shunts via surgery. Other more serious issues include blockage and infection.

  • Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), or pseudotumor cerebri: not a CSF condition specifically but it is a result of high pressure around the brain. The underlying cause of this condition is not currently known.

What are the signs and symptoms of a CSF condition?

Symptoms of a CSF condition or IIH will vary based on the specific condition. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy

  • Headaches

  • Impaired vision

  • Loss of balance

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Impaired cognitive abilities, or memory loss

How does our practice treat CSF conditions?

Each and every condition is treated with the utmost care and compassion in our St. Louis brain surgery based offices. Among the techniques Dr. Vasudevan typically uses are:

  • Ventricular or lumbar shunt: A common treatment for many CSF conditions which will transport excess fluid away from the brain. These shunt systems will be placed inside of a patient with the system continuing to operate as intended for the rest of their lives. Shunts may malfunction and require additional readjustments or replacement as time goes on.

  • Endoscopic third ventriculostomy: A treatment for some kinds of hydrocephalus that does not require a permanent shunt implant. A small incision and tiny camera are used to reroute CSF and relieve dangerous pressure on the brain.

Why our practice?

CSF conditions like hydrocephalus are highly treatable under the capable care of Dr. Vasudevan, brain and spine surgeon in St. Louis. Call today and make an appointment with us if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a CSF condition or IIH. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

CSF Hydrocephalus & IIH Neurosurgeon in St. Louis - Kumar Vasudevan, MD

CSF Hydrocephalus & IIH


Providing patients with hydrocephalus, intracranial hypertension, and other CSF conditions with supportive neurosurgical care.


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