Calvarial thickening from chronic ventricular shunting

Case contributed by Dr Matt A. Morgan


Ventricular shunt placed in infancy.

Patient Data

Age: 30-35Y
Gender: Male

Marked calvarial thickening with parietal bone ventricular shunt. An old shunt track overlying the upper posterior neck can also be seen.

Case Discussion

The skull is thought to develop partly in response to the pressure applied to it. It has been suggested that pressure changes to the dura mater actually mediate the change in calvarial development.

In hydrocephalus, the calvarial bones can become thinned due to the abnormally high pressure applied to them. With chronic shunting, however, the process is reversed, and chronic low intracranial pressures can result in a thicker skull than normal.

A thickened calvarial vault with chronic shunting has been termed “hyperostosis cranii ex vacuo.” 

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Case information

rID: 31883
Published: 24th Jan 2015
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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