Addressing Elevated Intracranial Pressure in San Antonio, TX


Elevated intracranial pressure means you have higher-than-normal pressure inside of your skull. This can result from the growth of solid structures, such as cysts or tumors, as well as a buildup of fluid. Symptoms can vary, as they generally relate to which area of the brain is being affected by increased pressure. However, common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • “Brain fog” and memory problems
  • Loss of coordination (such as difficulty walking or buttoning a shirt)
  • Possible urinary incontinence

Excessive fluid in the brain can be fatal! Immediate treatment by a highly trained neurosurgeon is necessary.

Your brain sits in a bath of liquid called “cerebrospinal fluid,” which provides it with support and cushioning. Officially named “hydrocephalus” and formerly known as “water on the brain,” an excessive buildup of this fluid is a dangerous — and potentially fatal — condition that can cause permanent damage to the brain if it isn’t treated. This condition can be present at birth or arise after birth, but it requires treatment in both instances.

Trust our physicians to relieve your hydrocephalus by installing a ventriculoperitoneal shunt using minimally invasive techniques.

We can’t simply turn off your body’s hyperactive production of cerebrospinal fluid. Instead, we need to continuously reroute it to a safer location. Fortunately, your body is excellent at recycling. By installing a port called a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt, our neurosurgeons can drain excess fluid from inside your skull. We operate simultaneously with a general surgeon, who uses laparoscopic tools to route the shunt into your abdominal cavity, minimizing your time in hospital care. Once in the abdomen, your body will absorb the cerebrospinal fluid and repurpose it for other functions. We’ve used this technique to save many, many people over the years. It’s quite safe, hidden from view and will allow you to live a relatively normal life.

In addition, depending on the cause of your hydrocephalus, we may be able to reroute your cerebrospinal fluid to a different area of the brain with an endoscopic procedure. If there’s a clear, avoidable obstruction, this procedure has great success normalizing intracranial pressure.

Relieving physical structures that increase intracranial pressure with great precision.

Many structural anomalies can increase intracranial pressure. Here are a couple common conditions that we have extensive experience treating:

Chiari Malformation

The base of your brain, called the cerebellum, can sometimes pass through the bottom of your skull and wedge itself into the upper spinal canal, where it receives abnormal pressure from the surrounding structures. Commonly occurring during development, this condition typically causes headaches after sudden coughing, sneezing or straining. And because this area of the brain affects balance, it can cause dizziness and cognitive problems.

Typically, this condition requires surgery. Our specialists will need to release the structures putting pressure on the cerebellum, which means removing bone and soft tissues at the base of the skull. This will allow your cerebellum to start functioning normally and restore the proper flow of fluid around your brain.

Colloid Cysts

These are benign tumors that grow in the brain, often causing headaches, and which can actually lead to hydrocephalus by blocking movement of the cerebrospinal fluid. Generally, we can use endoscopic and microsurgical techniques to remove the cyst and restore natural fluid passage, relieving your symptoms with only one or two tiny incisions.

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

We seen this condition almost exclusively in seniors. As the tissues of the brain weaken with age, the normal intracranial pressure becomes too stressful, causing similar symptoms to standard elevated intracranial pressure: urinary incontinence, decreased coordination and memory loss.

Be aware that normal pressure hydrocephalus is frequently misdiagnosed as dementia due to the advanced age of most sufferers and the symptom similarity. If you or someone you love is beginning to exhibit symptoms of dementia, it’s worth checking for normal pressure hydrocephalus, which is entirely treatable with a standard VP shunt procedure (described above).

To schedule an appointment or learn more about how Neurosurgery & Spine Consultants specializes in relieving intracranial pressure in the San Antonio communities of Medical Center, Stone Oak, Westover Hills and Southwest, call 210-255-8935 today. You can also request an appointment using the form on this page.