✓ The authors present a technique in which real-time ultrasound monitoring is used to aid the insertion of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt ventricular catheters in children without patent fontanelles. Experience with the technique is reviewed.
Intraoperative ultrasound is used to identify the compartments of the lateral ventricles and the choroid plexus prior to catheter insertion. Distance and trajectory to the best location for the hole-bearing segment of the catheter are determined and the catheter is inserted while real-time ultrasound monitoring is performed. Ten pediatric patients without open fontanelles underwent CSF shunt placement with the aid of transcranial ultrasound guidance between July and December 2006. After enlarging an occipital or frontal bur hole to a diameter of 2 cm to accommodate a small-footprint ultrasound probe, a ventricular catheter was carefully advanced into the frontal or occipital horn of the lateral ventricle while continuous ultrasound monitoring was performed. All catheters were inserted with a single pass through the brain. The final position of the ventricular catheter was visualized using intraoperative ultrasound. Postoperative computed tomography scans revealed all ventricular catheters placed accurately into the intended compartment of the ventricular system (for example, frontal horn or trigone). No procedure-related complications were noted.
Real-time transcranial ultrasound monitoring through an enlarged bur hole is a feasible, safe, and effective technique for the placement of ventricular catheters in pediatric patients without a patent fontanelle.