Spontaneous bowel perforation after ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery: case report and a review of 45 cases

Surg Neurol. 2000 Nov;54(5):388-96. doi: 10.1016/s0090-3019(00)00334-7.


Background: Ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery is the most widely used procedure in the treatment of hydrocephalus. However, this invasive procedure has been associated with several delayed abdominal complications. Perforation of the bowel is a very rare complication occurring in less than 0.1% of cases. Although infrequent, this delayed complication can be fatal if it goes unrecognized.

Case description: This report presents an adult patient who had undergone ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery and later presented with rectal protrusion of the shunt tube after asymptomatic perforation of the bowel wall. The shunt was removed without complication and the patient remained asymptomatic.

Conclusions: Forty-five similar cases have been reported in the literature. The information provided within this report examines the case at hand, as well as provides an analysis of the literature as it relates to bowel perforation through symptomatic presentation, diagnosis, cultures, management with or without laparotomy, and outcome.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / surgery
  • Intestinal Perforation / diagnosis
  • Intestinal Perforation / etiology*
  • Intestinal Perforation / therapy
  • Male
  • Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt / adverse effects*