‘Little People, Big World’ Star Zach Roloff Has Emergency Brain Surgery
A few days ago, Zach Roloff, one of the stars of the TLC reality series Little People, Big World, made headline news when he had emergency brain surgery for a shunt revision. The news stories talk about his shunt revision operation and the scariness of the ordeal. But we also need to bring awareness to the condition that Zach has, hydrocephalus, and the millions that are living with this condition every day. Hydrocephalus and a shunt can mean a lifetime of multiple brain surgeries. For each person living with hydrocephalus, dozens are common and 100 or more is not unheard of.
Hydrocephalus is a chronic, neurological condition caused by an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities of the brain called ventricles, resulting in pressure on the brain. There is no cure and currently the only available treatment is brain surgery. Shunts are commonly used to redirect the fluid and relieve the pressure, but they do not last forever, and they fail, leading to multiple brain surgeries to correct this.
Anyone at any age can develop hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus can develop for a variety of reasons, sometimes as part of another condition. You can be born with it or acquire it from brain tumors, infections of the brain or a brain injury. It may also develop it as part of the aging process.
One out of every 770 babies will develop hydrocephalus, making it as common as Down’s syndrome and more common than spina bifida or brain tumors. Yet the awareness level of this condition is very low and we need to change that. To help us conduct more critical research to find better, non-invasive treatments for those living with the condition. And to ultimately find a cure.