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Keywords:

  • Pseudotumour cerebri;
  • idiopathic intracranial hypertension;
  • ventriculoperitoneal shunt;
  • lumboperitoneal shunt;
  • optic nerve sheath fenestration;
  • venous sinus thrombosis

To review the literature on the surgical treatment of idiopathic pseudotumour cerebri (PTC) [idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH)]. When medical therapy fails or when visual dysfunction deteriorates, surgical therapies for PTC should be considered. The main procedures performed include lumboperitoneal shunt (LPS), ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) and optic nerve sheath fenestration (ONSF). Recently, venous sinus stenting procedures have been performed on selected patients with PTC, especially those with venous sinus occlusive disease. The literature is summarized and appraised in the form of a narrative review. It is evident that ONSF, LPS, VPS and, in selected cases, venous sinus stenting may improve vision and prevent deterioration of vision in patients with PTC. All of the procedures have their advantages and disadvantages and may fail with time no matter what procedure is used. Various authorities have vehemently advocated one or the other of these procedures. Until a prospective, randomized study comparing ONSF with LPS or VPS for PTC is performed, and until the role of venous sinus obstruction as the aetiology of PTC is better defined, the question of which surgical procedure is best for the treatment of PTC remains unanswered.