When Did You Decide to Have A Shunt

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Re: When Did You Decide to Have A Shunt

Postby reedy » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:06 pm

Tanya2 wrote:.... life with a disability is political. .....

Well said. And if we don't get active, no one will do it for us.
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Re: When Did You Decide to Have A Shunt

Postby Catrine » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:35 am

Hi there,

I'll try to stick to answering the question in your post "When did you decide to have a shunt"?

I've had two different ones. And neither were preventatve. Both were done when my symptoms were getting significantly worse.

My NS started with the least invasive (a VP shunt - you have to laugh when you are told that brain surgery is the least invasive option) once I was getting loss of feeling in major parts of my legs and was losing a large part of my arm use/strength in my right arm/hand. Two different NS said that a VP shunt was the place to start for me, to try to re-route the CSF around the spinal cord and into the abdomen. Unfortunately the shunt blocked twice and never did the job it was supposed to. I just got progressively worse over 1.5 years and had two revision surgeries to recover from to boot.

I finally put my foot down and said, this wasn't working - and asked what the next option was. This time it was a shunt directly into the spinal cord at T11. My surgeon said that my spinal cord was so distended at the bottom that he barely had to touch the syrinx with his knife and it burst. Apologies for the graphic nature of the description.

I've just come back from a stint at a spinal injuries unit - I update all in a seperate post - and was classified as an incomplete tetraplegic from C1.

The point with shunts is that they block!! Your decision making should be around whether your symptoms are getting worse. Otherwise you're getting a shunt put in that may block and require revision numerous times. The syringo-pleural shunt I have in at the moment has a 50% chance of blockage from what I've read in articles in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

I will have an MRI over the next month or so to see how we are doing.

So my advice is to understand that while a shunt can help, there are risks/complications to consider. Your symptoms should be your guide.

Good luck

Re: When Did You Decide to Have A Shunt

Postby gunflint » Tue Jul 31, 2012 7:52 am

Very valuable info. Thanks.
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