Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Christopher Duma, MD, FACS -  - Neurosurgeon

Christopher Duma, MD, FACS

Neurosurgeon & Brain Tumor Specialist located in Newport Beach, CA

As many as 700,000 older Americans have normal pressure hydrocephalus, a condition that affects their memory and mobility and is often misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s or dementia. At his Newport Beach, California, neurosurgical practice, board-certified neurosurgeon Christopher Duma, MD, FACS, is skilled in diagnosing and treating normal pressure hydrocephalus. Dr. Duma offers minimally invasive shunt placement surgery to improve drainage and alleviate the symptoms of the condition. Learn more about treating normal pressure hydrocephalus by calling the office or by using the online booking feature today.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Q & A

What is normal pressure hydrocephalus?

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is a condition that develops when abnormal amounts of cerebrospinal fluid build up in the cavities of the brain.

NPH can occur when the normal flow of fluid is obstructed in your brain or spinal cord. This causes enlargement of the brain cavities, which then puts pressure on your brain.

What causes normal pressure hydrocephalus?

While NPH can develop at any age, it becomes more common as you age. You may develop the condition for no specific reason or as the result of:

  • Infection
  • Brain tumor
  • Head trauma
  • Surgical complications

As a result of fluid buildup, you can develop a number of symptoms that interfere with your quality of life.

What are the symptoms of normal pressure hydrocephalus?

The symptoms of NPH can affect you in several ways. The most common indicators that you have normal pressure hydrocephalus include:

  • Dementia
  • Forgetfulness
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulties walking
  • Changes in bladder control

For many elderly people, these symptoms can be attributed to normal signs of aging. However, if you develop any of these symptoms, you should schedule a professional evaluation with Dr. Duma as soon as possible to prevent permanent disabilities.

How is normal pressure hydrocephalus diagnosed?

Because symptoms of NPH are similar to those of many other medical conditions, a prompt diagnosis with Dr. Duma can rule out other issues and confirm normal pressure hydrocephalus.

Dr. Duma offers a variety of on-site neuroimaging tests, including MRIs, ultrasounds, and CT scans, to get a clearer picture of your brain structures. He also uses clinical assessment resources to determine what is causing your symptoms.

In some cases, you may need a lumbar puncture (also called a spinal tap) to collect a sample of the fluid and analyze it for additional diagnostic information.

What treatments are available for normal pressure hydrocephalus?

In many cases, Dr. Duma may recommend the surgical implantation of a shunt to keep cerebrospinal fluid flowing and reduce the enlargement of brain cavities. The shunt opens to allow the fluid to drain into your abdomen, where it’s effectively absorbed.

Other types of shunts are also available depending on your needs and the severity of your condition. Dr. Duma can discuss your options for shunt placement during your consultation.

Schedule an appointment today to learn more about treating normal pressure hydrocephalus by using the online booking system or by calling the office.

For more information about what services Dr. Duma offers, visit the "Procedures" Section.

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