What is hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus is a condition where too much fluid accumulates in the brain, which can cause pressure on the brain and lead to a range of symptoms.

What are the common symptoms of hydrocephalus?

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty with balance and coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Drowsiness or lethargy
  • Irritability

How common is hydrocephalus?

In Australia, around 1 in every 1,000 children is born with hydrocephalus each year. It is unknown exactly how many other people develop the condition later in life.

Can hydrocephalus be prevented?

In some cases, hydrocephalus may be prevented by managing conditions that increase risk, such as brain bleeding, tumours or infections.


We will conduct a thorough evaluation to ensure an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor suspects hydrocephalus, they may recommend the following to confirm the diagnosis:

  • A neurological exam
  • A detailed medical history
  • Medical imaging, including MRI, CT
  • Lumbar puncture
Neurology and neurosurgery

Get referred

To receive a diagnosis or treatment from an Epworth specialist, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your GP and request a referral.

Treatment and management

Your Epworth care team will work together with you and your family to plan the best approach to treatment and symptom management.

Shunt placement

The most common treatment for hydrocephalus is a surgical procedure called shunt placement. During the procedure, a flexible tube is placed in your brain to help drain excess fluid to another part of your body, such as your abdomen.

Other treatment and management options include:

  • Medications
  • Surgery
  • If your condition is mild, you may require only monitoring

Ongoing recovery

It is important to attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your medical team at Epworth and to report any changes in symptoms or concerns you may have during the recovery process.

Our locations

For hydrocephalus

Treatment locations

Your care team at Epworth

The multidisciplinary care team for hydrocephalus includes a neurologist and neurosurgeon.

Learn more about the health professionals in the neurology care team.

Neurology and neurosurgery

Choosing your Epworth specialist

Meet our specialist neurologists and neurosurgeons, accredited at Epworth.


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