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Health Information Center

Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Placement

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Placement

(Cerebral Shunt Placement)


A ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement is surgery to insert a plastic tube to drain excess fluid from the brain and into the belly where it can be absorbed.

Reasons for Procedure

The shunt is placed to treat hydrocephalus. This is a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in spaces in the brain called ventricles. Too much of this fluid puts pressure on the brain.

The Brain.

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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Blockage of the shunt
  • Damage to brain tissue
  • The need for more surgery

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
  • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from an incision
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness and fainting
  • A valve that is blocked
  • Severe headache or changes in vision
  • Problems speaking
  • Confusion or memory loss

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • About your ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt surgery. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center website. Available at: https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/patient-education/about-your-ventriculoperitoneal-vp-shunt-surgery.
  • Hydrocephalus in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hydrocephalus-in-adults.
  • Ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. University of Rochester Medical Center website. Available at: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/neurosurgery/for-patients/treatments/ventriculoperitoneal-shunt.aspx.


  • Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.