ETYM New Lat., from Greek, hydrocephalus; hydro water + kephale head.
Hhydrocephaly. An abnormal condition in which cerebrospinal fluid collects in the ventricles of the brain; in infants it can cause abnormally rapid growth of the head and bulging fontanelles and a small face.
Potentially serious increase in the volume of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the ventricles of the brain. In infants, since their skull plates have not fused, it causes enlargement of the head, and there is a risk of brain damage from CSF pressure on the developing brain.
Hydrocephalus may be due to mechanical obstruction of the outflow of CSF from the ventricles or to faulty reabsorption. Treatment usually involves surgical placement of a shunt system to drain the fluid into the abdominal cavity. In infants, the condition is often seen in association with spina bifida. Hydrocephalus may occur as a consequence of brain injury or disease.