VP Shunt cost in South Africa

Ventriculoperitoneal Shunts, abbreviated as VP shunts are one of the most advanced treatments available for candidates suffering from hydrocephalus. The CSF or the cerebrospinal fluid, normally flowing through the brain ventricles may get leaked causing unwanted accumulation in the cavities, thereby causing additional pressure, a condition called hydrocephalus. The condition is mostly diagnosed with infants, children, and teenagers. VP shunt surgery is primarily performed to relieve such additional pressure. Approximately 160,000 VP shunts are performed every year worldwide and each VP shunt surgery cost varies from $30,000 to $50,000.

What is VP Shunt Surgery?

The accumulation of CSF causes excessive pressure buildup and may cause irrecoverable brain damage. The VP shunts are thereby implanted in order to re-direct the path of CSF so that normal circulation is restored and any further damage is prevented. The shunts are made up of silicone which is flexible enough to not cause any additional disturbance. It comprises of two slim catheters for draining the CSF and a valve for regulating the activities. The recovery period required for patients undergoing VP shunt surgery is approximately 3-4 days.

Ideal Candidate for VP Shunt Surgery

VP Shunt surgery is performed to relieve symptoms of hydrocephalus and are unresponsive to traditional or conservative treatments. Candidates who require VP shunt surgery are mostly the individuals who show signs of progressive hydrocephalus. Thus, individuals who are diagnosed with symptoms of:

  • Excessive fluid buildup in the cavities
  • Reduced absorption of the cerebrospinal fluid by the blood vessels
  • Cysts or blockages resulting from hydrocephalus
  • Persistent inflammation
  • Recurrent seizures

Factors affecting the cost of VP Shunt Surgery

VP shunt surgery cost depends on a number of factors. Besides, depending on the country where the procedure is performed, the other determining factors are:

  • Type of shunt used for the surgery
  • Quality and durability of the shunt
  • The complexity of hydrocephalus diagnosed
  • Healthcare facilities required
  • Follow up treatments necessary 
  • Other underlying issues affecting the same.
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About the VP Shunt

  • Ventriculoperitoneal shunt is commonly known as VP shunt. It is a medical device that relieves pressure on the brain caused by excess cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) accumulation. VP shunt is designed to primarily treat a medical condition called hydrocephalus, which occurs when excess CSF collects in the ventricles of the brain.
  • The role of fluid on the brain is to protect it from injury inside the skull. CSF acts as a delivery system for nutrients that the brain needs and takes away waste products. Fluid on the brain is reabsorbed into the blood.
  • Hydrocephalus occurs when the normal flow of CSF is disrupted or the reabsorbtion of CSF in the blood is reduced. This condition can, thus, create an adverse pressure on the tissues of the brain and harm it. A brain shunt surgery can help rectify this condition by diverting the CSF away from the brain, which restores normal flow and absorption of CSF. VP shunt is surgically placed inside one of the ventricles of the brain.

How is VP Shunt performed?

  • The management of hydrocephalus has always been a challenge for neurologists, neurosurgeons, engineers and medical device developers because the nature of CSF is unique to each patient. However, the development of VP shunt has made the treatment of hydrocephalus a bit easier. It has, in fact, become the most successful and primary therapy for hydrocephalus treatment.
  • A VP shunt looks like a tube and the shunt pathway contains some valves that act as on/off switches. The valve open when the pressure difference across the valve exceeds the valve opening pressure. These valves are usually set to a fixed pressure.
  • Some accessory devices may be added to the shunt to modify valve functions. Role of accessory devices is to counter gravitational forces and to minimize over drainage of CSF when a patient is in standing position. Further, a bubble like reservoir can provide an external approach to the brain shunt surgery for making any changes in the measurement of pressure.

Recovery from VP Shunt

Brain Shunt Surgery Recovery Time

  • Just after the VP shunt surgery, the patient is kept under close observation for an hour or so and then is transferred to his or her room. Usually, it takes 4 to 7 days for patients to leave the hospital, depending on their clinical progress.
  • During the hospital stay of the patient with shunt in head, the hospital staff will monitor the heart rate and blood pressure frequently and the specialist will suggest some preventive antibiotics. The result of this monitoring procedure will help determine recovery time after VP shunt. The specialist will make sure that the shunt in head is working properly and will remove the stitches or staples before the patient is discharged from hospital.
  • The patient can walk and move after the discharge from the hospital, but it may take 2 to 3 weeks to resume daily activities. Patient may feel tenderness in the neck or belly and probably feel tired. In some cases, the patient may have headache for a few weeks after the surgery, but should not experience much pain. Typically, every individual has different recovery time, depending on the age and medical needs.

Precautions After VP Shunt Surgery

The patient may need to lie flat for 24 hours after the shunt in head is placed. Patients are strictly recommended to follow the instructions of the doctor on how to take care of the shunt at home. Patients may be asked to take medicine after VP shunt surgery to prevent infection.Here are some of the precaution that you must take after the brain shunt surgery:

  • Rest and get enough sleep, it will help you recover.
  • Do not touch the valve on your head.
  • Avoid physically involving games and activities for at least 6 weeks.
  • Do not swim or take a shower until your stitches or staples are removed.
  • Take low-fat foods such as plain rice, boiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Do not take any new medications unless advised by the doctor.
  • Make sure to contact the doctor before continuing any blood thinner medicines such as clopidogrel, warfarin or aspirin.
  • Take pain medicines and antibiotics exactly as directed. Do not stop them just because you feel better.

VP Shunt Procedure Complications

The VP shunt procedure is a safe and most common procedure for the treatment of hydrocephalus. But it also involves some complication and risks. Some patients may be advised a VP shunt revision in case of complication or if the device fails to work. According to some studies, about 50 percent of VP shunting in the pediatric population fails within two years of placement and VP shunt revision is often required.However, VP shunt complication rate in adults is less. The most common VP shunt complications in adults are malfunction and infection.

  • VP shunt malfunction: Partial or complete blockage of the shunt that affects the function of VP shunt intermittently or fully is called malfunction. In VP shunt malfunction, CSF accumulates and resumes the symptoms of hydrocephalus.

VP shunt malfunction is a complication which can occur in adults and any other age group. The blockage can take place from tissue, blood cells or by bacteria. Both the ventricular catheter and the distal part of the catheter can be blocked by tissue from the ventricles or choroid plexus.

  • VP shunt infections: Infection in VP shunts is usually caused by a person’s own bacterial flora. The most common infection in VP shunt is because of a bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. It is found on the surface of skin, sweat glands and in hair follicles deep within the skin.

This type of VT shunt infection is most commonly seen in one to three months after the surgery. Abdominal infection after VP shunt is also common. A person with VT shunt may also develop a generalized infection, which can become serious quickly.


Pros:

  • Patients return to usual routine in some days
  • No pain


Cons

  • Shunt may fail after a few years
  • Shunt replacement or removal has its own side effects

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of VP Shunt in South Africa?

The cost of VP Shunt in South Africa may differ from one medical facility to the other. There are many hospital that cover the cost of pre-surgical investigations of the patient in the treatment package. The VP Shunt cost in South Africa includes the cost of anesthesia, medicines, hospitalization and the surgeon's fee. Stay outside the package duration, post-operative complications and diagnosis of a new condition may further increase the VP Shunt cost in South Africa.

Which are some of the best clinics in South Africa for VP Shuntt?

There are several best hospitals for VP Shunt in South Africa. The top hospitals for VP Shunt in South Africa include the following:

  1. Life Kingsbury Hospital
  2. Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  3. Ahmed Kathrada Private Hospital
How many days does it take to recover post VP Shunt in South Africa?

After discharge from the hospital, the patient has to stay for another 21 days in the country for complete recovery. This period is important to conduct all the follow-up tests to ensure that the surgery was successful and the patient can go back to the home country.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for VP Shunt?

While South Africa is considered to be one of the best destinations for VP Shunt owing to the standard of Hospitals, and expertise of doctors; there are a select few destinations which provide comparable quality of healthcare for the procedure However, there are other countries as mentioned below that are popular for VP Shunt as well:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 4800
SpainUSD 24000
ThailandUSD 12500
TurkeyUSD 7000
United Arab EmiratesUSD 9500
How much are the other expenses in South Africa apart from the cost of VP Shunt?

Apart from the cost of VP Shunt, the patient is also required to pay additionally for daily meals and guest house accommodation. The extra charges may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in South Africa for VP Shunt Procedure?

The following are some of the best cities for VP Shunt in South Africa:

  1. Lenasia
  2. Durban
  3. Johannesburg
  4. Cape Town
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for VP Shunt in South Africa?

The average duration of stay at the hospital after VP Shunt is about 4 days for proper care and monitoring. The patient is subjected to several biochemistry and radiological scans to see that everything is okay and the recovery is on track. After making sure that patient is clinically stable, discharge is planned.

What is the average rating of Hospitals in South Africa offering VP Shunt?

The average rating for VP Shunt hospitals in South Africa is 2.9. Several parameters such as hospital infrastructure, pricing policy, quality of services, politeness of staff etc. contribute to the rating.

How many hospitals offer VP Shunt in South Africa?

There are more than 3 hospitals that offer VP Shunt in South Africa. The above mentioned clinics have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. Also, these hospitals follow the necessary guidelines as required by the medical associations for the treatment of VP Shunt patients.

Who are the best doctors for VP Shunt in South Africa?

Some of the renowned medical specialists for VP Shunt in South Africa are:

  1. Dr. KD Jivan
  2. Dr. K Ranchod

FAQ's Related to South Africa

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in South Africa?

South Africa is one of the leading medical tourism destinations with top hospitals, such as:

  1. Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital
  2. Busamed Hillcrest Private Hospital
  3. Busamed Gateway Private Hospital
  4. Busamed Modderfontein Private Hospital
  5. Busamed Lowveld Hospital
  6. Lenmed Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre
  7. Busamed Paardevlei Private Hospital
  8. Life Bay View Private Hospital
  9. Lenmed Shifa Hospital

The performance of these hospitals have been evaluated on the below parameters:

  1. Providing clear information about medicines to patients
  2. Effective engagement between nursing staff/doctors and patients;
  3. Suitability of the hospital environment for meeting the needs of patients
  4. Effectively managing pain.

The hospitals are bound to provide quality treatment as the government of South Africa has framed strict healthcare rules to ensure there is no quality lapse. The hospitals have world-class doctors and top-notch infrastructure and provide a wide range of facilities to meet the needs of patients.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in South Africa?

The hospitals in South Africa receive accreditation from Joint Commission International (JCI) and Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa (COHSASA). To ensure that integrated and coordinated care is provided, COHSASA develops as well as measures standards in all areas and departments of a healthcare facility. COHSASA, JCI, and SafeCare Foundation have come together to launch the SafeCare program to implement internationally recognized standards to improve health care delivery. Initially, a two-year accreditation is awarded to hospitals and clinics that adhere to standards and the period can be extended if the hospitals continue to deliver expected quality care.

Why should I opt for healthcare in South Africa?

A large number of medical tourists visit South Africa every year due to low-cost treatment and modern infrastructure. South Africa has become the epicenter of medical tourism because of several other reasons like advanced technology, several facilities provided by hospitals, doctors trained abroad, and a large pool of accredited hospitals. Liberal laws for the use of stem cells in South Africa have helped it attract a large number of medical tourists for advanced medical treatment. The patient-centric hospitals in South Africa help you with all kinds of organization and administrative tasks and provide a world-class patient experience through all-inclusive care and assistance on a 24/7 basis.

How is the quality of doctors in South Africa?

The doctors in South Africa strive to provide quality treatment utilizing their deep subject knowledge and hands-on experience in handling various complex cases. Majority of doctors in South Africa have received rigorous training in countries like Cuba and Australia which makes them competent in dealing with even the most complicated cases with great ease. Using a holistic approach, doctors have received worldwide recognition for delivering excellent results in dental procedures and fertility treatments. South Africa has world-class doctors due to several reasons like their education at reputed colleges, adherence to global standards, patient-centric approach, and incorporation of the human touch in treatment.

How to obtain a medical visa in South Africa?

You can get a medical visa to South Africa for 90 days. The High Commission of the country decides for how long a visa could be extended. People need to apply for a temporary residency permit in case they have to stay in the country for more than three months. The validity of a visa begins the same day it is issued by the High Commission in South Africa. A visa application is accepted until 30 days prior to the departure date. Make sure you have the below-listed documents while applying for a medical visa:

  1. Passport
  2. Passport-sized photographs
  3. Online Application form
  4. Full return flight reservation
  5. Proof of stay in South Africa
  6. Signed official medical letter from medical institution
  7. Signed medical letter from a recognized local practitioner
What are the popular procedures available in South Africa?

A large number of people visit South Africa to avail procedures like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, total knee replacement, meniscus repairs, and hip replacement. Some other procedures which have gained popularity in South Africa are cosmetic surgery and infertility treatment. Egg donation program is very popular in the country and you have an option of having either a surgical or non-surgical procedure, with very low waiting times. People select South Africa to avail these procedures due to several reasons, such as world-class hospitals with superior infrastructure and highly-skilled doctors, fast recovery, and use of cutting-edge medical technology.

Which are the most popular cities in South Africa for medical treatment?

South Africa has a number of modern urban centers, such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban. Cape Town, which attracts a wide variety of people from different ethnicity and cultures, has world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities. The reasons for the popularity of these cities are multiple food options, connectivity through airlines, and cheap accommodation. Healthcare in Johannesburg is similar to Great Britain’s health care, and the city’s public and private healthcare sectors work hand in hand with South Africa's medical schools to create internationally recognized medical specialists.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to South Africa?

Yes, vaccination is compulsory before visiting South Africa. The vaccines recommended by WHO and the National Travel Health Network and Centre are Rabies and tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, Yellow fever, hepatitis A. Infants 6 to 11 months old travelling to the country should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. It is always recommended that you get typhoid vaccination if you are going to stay with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas of South Africa. It is best to refer to the travel advisory to know in detail about the required vaccines. You can also get in touch with your doctor or the hospital in South Africa for more information on vaccination.