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Understanding Hydrocephalus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment in Dubai


Dubai is one of the top destinations in the world for patients seeking quality Hydrocephalus treatment. It is a hub for advanced healthcare services, high-quality medical care, and affordable cost. Dubai's hospitals provide excellent diagnosis, treatment, and preventive health services comparable to the best in the world.

The cost of Hydrocephalus treatment in Dubai is significantly lower (by 40% or more) compared to the cost in countries like the US, UK, France, and Germany. The cost of Hydrocephalus treatment in Dubai starts from USD 9500, while the same costs USD 35000 in the USA.

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What is Hydrocephalus?

Hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder, is caused by an abnormal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) buildup in the ventricles (cavities) deep within the brain. CSF, a clear, colorless fluid, cushions and protects your brain and spine. Excess CSF buildup results in improper brain functioning, brain damage, or even death. The excess fluid widens the ventricles and puts harmful pressure on the brain's tissues. Hydrocephalus may occur at or shortly after birth or result from damage or injury.

Hydrocephalus affects approximately 85 out of 100,000 people worldwide and varies among age groups. For children, the prevalence is 88 out of 100,000, while for adults, it's 11 out of 100,000.

What are the Symptoms of Hydrocephalus?

The symptoms may vary from person to person but mainly depend on age.

In infants, signs and symptoms may include:

  • A rapid increase in head size
  • A huge head
  • Problems sucking or feeding
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness
  • Eyes not turning outward or consistently looking downwards 

Symptoms that may appear in older children and adults are as follows:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Problems with balance
  • Vision problems
  • Sleepiness
  • Slowing or loss of developmental progress, like walking or talking
  • A decline in school or job performance
  • Poor coordination
  • Irritability
  • Loss of bladder control and frequent urination
  • Difficulty remaining awake or waking up
  • Alterations in behavior, thinking process, or memory

Symptoms in older adults may include:

  • Walking issues
  • Progressive mental impairment and dementia
  • General slowing of movements
  • Loss of bladder control and frequent urination
  • Poor coordination and balance

What are the Types of Hydrocephalus?

Congenital or Developmental Hydrocephalus, often present at birth, is usually part of a genetic syndrome or spinal dysraphism.

In adults, there are four types of Hydrocephalus: 

  1. Communicating Hydrocephalus occurs when the CSF flow is blocked after it exits the ventricles. "Communicating" term is used because the CSF can still circulate through the ventricles, and the passages stay unobstructed. Reduced flow and CSF absorption into specialized blood vessels can also result in a CSF buildup in the ventricles. 
  2. When the narrow passages that connect the ventricles are blocked, it causes Non-communicating (Obstructive) Hydrocephalus as the flow of CSF is blocked.
  3. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) can result from bleeding in the brain or a complication of surgery. The rise in CSF occurs gradually, giving the tissues surrounding the ventricles enough time to adjust and prevent increased fluid pressure inside the brain. NPH causes issues with walking, bladder control, and difficulties thinking and reasoning. NPH can sometimes be mistaken for Alzheimer's disease. Untreated NPH symptoms worsen over time, but some individuals may experience temporary relief.
  4. Hypersecretory Hydrocephalus, caused by an overproduction of CSF, most likely due to plexus papilloma or, rarely, a carcinoma. These tumors are more common in children.

How is Hydrocephalus diagnosed?

A neurological evaluation is used to diagnose Hydrocephalus. The healthcare provider may use brain imaging techniques such as computer tomography (CT), ultrasounds, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Some other tests often performed in adults to diagnose the condition include: 

  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
  • Intracranial pressure monitoring (ICP) 
  • Fundoscopic exam 

Can Hydrocephalus Go Away On Its Own?

If left untreated, it can be fatal. An early diagnosis with successful treatment improves the chance of a good recovery.

Is Hydrocephalus Treatable?

While there isn't a way to prevent or cure Hydrocephalus, it can be treated with surgery.

Treatment of Hydrocephalus

Based on the underlying etiology, it can be treated by:

  • Diverting the excess fluid directly
  • Removing the cause of CSF obstruction indirectly
  1. Shunt Device


The most common way to treat Hydrocephalus is by using a shunt device. It diverts the excess CSF away from the brain. The shunt is placed under the skin with a catheter and a valve. This drains excess CSF from a ventricle inside the brain to another body cavity. The shunt system continuously diverts the CSF from the brain, keeping the intracranial pressure within normal limits. 

In some cases, the following two procedures are performed:

  • First, to divert the CSF
  • The second step is eliminating the cause of the obstruction, such as a brain tumor

After insertion, the shunt system typically remains in the patient's body for the rest of their life. Sometimes additional operations are required to revise the shunt system. 

  1. Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy (ETV) 

It is an alternative operation that can only be performed on a limited number of patients. ETV enhances the outflow of CSF from the brain. This procedure creates a tiny hole at the bottom of the third ventricle, diverting the CSF to relieve pressure. In some cases, this procedure is performed alongside choroid plexus cauterization to reduce the production of CSF.

  1. Choroid Plexus Cauterization

It is a procedure that involves using an electric current to burn the CSF-producing tissue (i.e., the choroid plexus) located in the brain's lateral ventricles. This helps to reduce the production of CSF.

Why Should You Choose Dubai For Your Hydrocephalus Treatment?

  • Expert Medical Staff: Dubai has highly experienced doctors and supporting medical staff. 
  • Top Hospitals: The hospitals in Dubai rank among some of the best medical facilities and offer patients an international standard of medical care. The modern infrastructure of hospitals in Dubai supports the advanced facilities they offer. Hospitals offer services, including digital diagnostic labs, imaging centers, blood banks, emergency medical care, and ambulance services. 
  • Low cost of Treatment: The cost of healthcare in Dubai is much lower compared to many other countries, particularly Western nations, but with similar quality of care.
  • Availability of High-tech Facilities: The hospitals in Dubai are accredited and certified centers with cutting-edge technologies and high-end infrastructure. The facilities are always up-to-date with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic devices, easily accessible to patients. They are regularly updated with newer versions to ensure top-notch care.

Top Doctors in Dubai Providing Hydrocephalus Treatment

  • Dr. Muhammed Chishti: He is a renowned and established Neurosurgeon with over 35 years of experience. His area of expertise includes brain tumor treatment, aneurysm, Hydrocephalus, craniosynostosis with all types of cranial trauma, degenerative spinal disease, spinal tumors, spinal dysraphism, etc.
  • Dr. Nicandro Figueiredo: He is a leading Spinal Neurosurgeon with over 24 years of experience. His expertise includes spinal surgeries in children and adults, spinal deformity corrections, minimally invasive spinal surgeries, microsurgery, spinal fusion, arthroplasty techniques, spinal neuronavigation, O-arm for 3D intraoperative image acquisition, etc.
  • Dr. Mohammed Al-jumaily: He is a Neurosurgeon with over 22 years of experience. His expertise lies in Neuro-endoscopy, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Head Injury, Complex Spinal Surgery, Regenerative Spinal Techniques, Cranial, Spinal Oncology, Hydrocephalus, Pediatric Neurosurgery, etc.
  • Dr. Chanshik Shim: He is an eminent Neurosurgeon with over 25 years of experience. His area of expertise lies in diagnosing and surgically treating advanced nervous system disorders, including congenital anomalies, trauma, tremors, infections of the brain/stroke, and the spine.
  • Dr. Mohamed Fouad Ibrahim: He is a notable Neurosurgeon with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in Nonsurgical management for back and neck pain, Percutaneous spine techniques and pain management, Microscopic spine surgery, Endoscopic brain and spine surgeries, Pediatric Neuro spinal surgeries, Pituitary and brain tumor surgeries, etc.


A diagnosis of Hydrocephalus can be a scary experience, but your healthcare provider can provide you with the tools and resources you need. A multidisciplinary team involving a Pediatrician, Neurosurgeon, Ophthalmologist, and Rehabilitation Specialist offers the patient integrated care for a good outcome.

nishu Author Name

A microbiologist by education, Nishu Negi clearly understands scientific/healthcare concepts and ideas. She is a creative content writer passionate about innovative concepts and expresses these with clarity in her writing. She enjoys writing blog posts and articles in a way that the target audience understands them. 

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Dr. Nishtha Kalra

Dr. Nishtha Kalra is a healthcare specialist who has been assisting patients with their medical needs for the past 12 years. She is dedicated to bridging the gap between complex medical information and the general public. She looks forward to contributing her expertise to ensure that individuals can access trustworthy, well-informed, and accessible healthcare knowledge.

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