1. Hydrocephalus, ie excessive water in the brain.

The baby may be born with this problem or this may develop as a result of previous bleeding or infection. The treatment is often by putting in a shunt (a small tube) to drain the water from the brain to the tummy (abdomen), a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. It is a small operation and patient needs to stay in hospital for about 3 days. A new programmable shunt allows the surgeon to adjust the shunt setting according to the needs of the patient (from Codman, USA). For some cases, a new method called endoscopic third ventriculostomy may work without the need to insert a shunt.

2. Tumour (Testimonials 9, 10, 11, 12).

The techniques of surgery for removing a pediatric tumour are essentially identical with those in an adult, with the only exception being that children have much less blood than adults. Therefore, the surgeon needs to be careful about blood loss during surgery. For benign tumours such as craniopharyngioma, pilocytic astrocytoma, ependymoma, dermoid cyst, epidermoid cyst, meningioma, choroid plexus papilloma, complete surgical removal offers a cure and should be aimed for (Newspaper 12). Sometimes patients previously operated in other hospitals with residual or recurrent tumours may still be cured (Figure 4).

3. Arachnoid cyst

This is a common condition affecting 75 in 10,000 people. Often surgery is not needed.

4. Spina bifida

There is a deficiency in the spine when the child is born. As the child grows taller, the spinal nerves become stretched, resulting in pain, weakness or numbness in the legs and, worse still, weakness and paralysis of the bladder. A simple operation is often needed to release the tension of the nerve.