Lumboperitoneal shunt

Last revised by Dr Yusra Sheikh on 07 Feb 2022

Lumboperitoneal (LP) shunts are a device used to shunt cerebrospinal fluid in the treatment of increased CSF pressure.

As the name suggests, a catheter is placed with its tip in the lumbar spinal canal (intrathecal). The distal catheter is tunneled under the skin and into the peritoneal cavity. The catheter may or may not have a valve that regulates the flow of CSF based on a preset pressure. 

It is used for CSF shunting of no intracranial mechanical or local cause of obstruction e.g. communicating hydrocephalusidiopathic intracranial hypertension, postoperative pseudomeningoceles, and cerebrospinal fluid fistulas 1,2.


Recognized complications include 3,4:

  • infection (e.g. meningitis)
  • puncture site trauma
  • shunt malfunction
    • blockage or obstruction
    • disconnections/breaks
    • shunt kinking 7 
    • migration
    • leakage
    • over drainage
    • under drainage
  • distal complications
    • anterior abdominal wall pseudocyst formation 5
    • rarely, the distal end can encircle the bowel and cause strangulation
  • intraspinal complications
    • chronic subdural effusion
    • acquired Chiari abnormality

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2: for acquired tonsillar ectopia
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  • Case 3
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  • Case 4: dislodged LP shunt
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  • Case 5: complicated with pseudocyst
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  • Case 6: on abdominal x-ray
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  • Case 6: Abdominal wall pseudocyst secondary to lumboperitoneal shunt malpositioning
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