A ventriculoperitoneal shunt, or VP shunt, is one type of permanent cerebral shunt that allows for alleviation of raised intracranial pressure caused by hydrocephalus. This procedure involves placement of a ventricular catheter in the lateral ventricle and ipsilateral drainage to the peritoneal cavity. This is the most commonly used shunt today.
For any shunt, obstruction is the most common cause of malfunction, with the most common site being proximal at the ventricular catheter. Other etiologies of malfunction are problems with valve mechanism and distal occlusion in the peritoneal catheter (or atrial catheter in a VA shunt below). Infection, erosion through skin, and seizures are also potential complications. There is a 17% incidence of inguinal hernia with VP shunts specifically. Peritonitis is another potential complication. VP and VA shunts need to be lengthened with growth in children and adolescents.