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An Ommaya reservoir (also called an intraventricular reservoir) is a 2-part device that a neurosurgeon places on top of and inside of a child’s brain. A reservoir is a place where fluid collects.
The ventricles of the brain make cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), often called spinal fluid. Spinal fluid flows around your child’s brain and spinal cord. It cushions the brain and spinal cord to protect them from injury. Spinal fluid also brings nutrients to the brain and carries away waste products. Nutrients are substances that the body needs to function and maintain health.
An Ommaya reservoir helps your child’s care team:
Follow all instructions given to you by your surgical care team to prepare your child for this procedure.
Your child’s neurosurgeon places the reservoir during a surgical procedure. Your child will likely have general anesthesia. That means they will be asleep for the procedure. A member of the care team shaves the area where the surgical cuts will be made. They do not shave your child’s entire head.
During the procedure, your child’s neurosurgeon makes a small cut behind your child’s hairline. They insert the reservoir dome through the cut under the scalp. The neurosurgeon then passes the catheter through the brain into the space where spinal fluid is made. Then they stitch the cut closed.
This placement surgery usually takes about an hour.
Your child’s doctor will talk with you after the surgery. Your child may have bandages over the procedure site. They may need to stay in the hospital for some time as they heal. The care team will ask your child to move their fingers, toes, arms, and legs. They will also check the pupils of your child’s eyes and ask your child questions.
Your child may have a headache, nausea, or vomiting after Ommaya reservoir placement. Please tell your care team if your child is in pain or has any of the above symptoms. They can give medicines to help.
Your child may have mild swelling around their procedure site. Call your care team if you see any redness, drainage or swelling that is not mild or if you have any concerns.
Call your surgical care team if you have any questions.
Your child’s neurosurgeon will talk with you about the risks of the procedure. There is a small risk of:
Call your care team right away if your child has any signs or symptoms of infection.
Signs and symptoms of infection include:
Reviewed: October 2023