Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 229–240 | Cite as

Endoscopic diagnosis and treatment of far distal obstructive hydrocephalus

  • Joachim M. K. OertelEmail author
  • Yvonne Mondorf
  • Henry W. S. Schroeder
  • Michael R. Gaab
Clinical Article



Obstruction of the CSF circulation distal to the fourth ventricle is a rare cause of noncommunicating hydrocephalus. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) represents one of the treatment options, but reports of results are rare.


Between March 1997 and June 2008, 20 ETVs in 20 patients (mean 32.4 years, range 1 month–79 years) for noncommunicating hydrocephalus distal to the fourth ventricle were undertaken. All patients suffered from severe internal hydrocephalus and typical clinical symptoms. In addition to the standard ETV, a transaqueductal inspection of the posterior fossa with a flexible scope was performed. All patients were prospectively followed.


An ETV was achieved in all patients. It was clinically successful in 15 of 20 patients (75%) with an improvement of 50% (three out of six) of the pediatric and of 83% (12 out of 14) of the adult population. A reduction of ventricle size was found in ten (50%). Five patients (25%) received ventriculoperitoneal shunting. A transaqueductal inspection of the posterior fossa cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways was performed in 16. In the remaining four patients, no inspection with the flexible scope was done. One clinically silent fornix contusion and one CSF fistula which was treated conservatively occurred. There was no permanent morbidity.


ETV is a successful treatment option in CSF pathway obstructions distal to the fourth ventricle. Although the success rate particularly of the pediatric population appears to be lower than with other indications of obstructive hydrocephalus, a relevant part of the patient population improves after ventriculostomy and shunting can be avoided.


Noncommunicating hydrocephalus Endoscopic third ventriculostomy Endoscopic fourth ventricle inspection Posterior fossa malformation 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Mr. S. Gallwitz’s expert support in the preparation of the video. The authors also gratefully acknowledge Dr. R. Glombik’s help in the acquisition of the radiological measurements.


MR Gaab and HWS Schroeder are consultants to Karl Storz company.

Supplementary material

Video 1

This is the intraoperative video of the case presented in Fig. 1. (WMV 8750 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim M. K. Oertel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yvonne Mondorf
    • 2
  • Henry W. S. Schroeder
    • 3
  • Michael R. Gaab
    • 2
  1. 1.Neurochirurgische Klinik und PoliklinikUniversitätsmedizin, Johannes Gutenberg-UniversitätMainzGermany
  2. 2.Neurochirurgische Klinik, NordstadtkrankenhausKlinikum Region HannoverHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Neurochirurgische Klinik und PoliklinikErnst Moritz Arndt UniversitaetGreifswaldGermany

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