Syringo-subarachnoid shunt

Bypass drain for a build-up of fluid in the spinal cord

A syringo-subarachnoid shunt is used to drain a build-up of fluid in the spinal cord


A syringo-subarachnoid shunt is used to drain a build up of fluid within the spinal cord, which will help to relieve pressure and any associated pain.

Need to know

  • What happens during surgery? icon plus

    A syringo-subarachnoid shunt is a thin flexible tube used to redirect fluid from within the spinal cord to the surrounding fluid-filled space (subarachnoid space), with the aim of relieving pressure. Your neurosurgeon will insert one end of the shunt into the cyst (or syrinx) in your spinal cord, with the other end entering the subarachnoid space, allowing drainage of the syrinx, with the aim of relieving pain and preventing neurological deterioration 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your neurosurgeon will explain your syringo-subarachnoid shunt procedure to you and answer any questions you might have. As you'll be having general anaesthetic, they will let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery.

    You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre-assessment clinic. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    After your syringo-subarachnoid shunt procedure, you'll be transferred to our recovery ward, where you’ll be looked after by a specialist team. Your neurosurgeon will explain your recovery time to you and when you can expect to get back to your usual routine.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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