Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Shuntiversary Mason!

In the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus world you celebrate some unusual holidays. Today is Mason's Shuntiversary!  One year ago today the shunt in Mason's brain was fixed for the sixth time.  Pictures from the next morning are here.  He was not even two years old and had gone through more shunt revisions than anyone close to his age that we knew.  Every shunt revision is a brain surgery. 

The shunt is simply tubing and a valve.  It's job is to siphon off the extra fluid from the ventricles pf the brain when the pressure gets to high, draining it down into Mason's abdomen where the fluid can be reabsorbed.  You see, Mason's brain isn't positioned normally in his skull.  It actually grew pulled toward the back, with the bottom of it down in his neck vertebrae.  His goes down to C3.  It gets in the way of the fluid that should be draining down the spinal cord.  This is called Chiari II Malformation.  Mason's Chiari is currently asymptomatic, not causing any symptoms, which is a huge blessing.  When children have problems with their Chiari they face things like breathing and swallowing issues, among other things.  (I know you're wondering if Mason could develop symptoms - yes.  It is possible.  We pray he never does, but as he grows there is a chance he could become symptomatic and need surgery to remove part of his skull and neck vertebrae.)

Back to the shunt - we're grateful for it. Without it Mason would die as the pressure built up in his skull and damaged his brain.  Today, for the first time, Mason has had a working shunt for an entire year!  Will this be the first October of his life to NOT have brain surgery?  I'm praying it is!


  1. I'm praying for your happy boy! I've been so so blessed and have only had mine replace once in my entire life. I had the first one from birth up until I was 19 years old, I believe in the shunt world that is unheard of!

  2. One year since last revision is great, I hope it keeps working for a very long time!

  3. Thank you, me too. Now that I am older that surgery is a lot more painful. :-P


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