What is an ommaya reservoir?
An ommaya reservoir provides direct access to your cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). An ommaya reservoir, also called an ommaya shunt, is placed during surgery. A provider may suggest an ommaya reservoir if:
- You will need frequent administration of chemotherapy to treat cancer cells in the CSF.
- You will need frequent removal of CSF for testing.
An ommaya reservoir is a small port (about the size of a quarter) that is placed underneath the skin on the head. The port is attached to a catheter (tube) that is threaded into a ventricle (open space) in the brain. CSF is made in the ventricles, and an ommaya reservoir gains direct access to the CSF. You will be able to feel the port that sits under your skin and your skin will be raised higher in that area.
How is the ommaya reservoir placed?
An ommaya reservoir is placed under general anesthesia (you will be asleep) in the operating room. The procedure is performed by a neurosurgeon. Your head will be shaved where the ommaya is placed. The surgeon will create a small incision to place the ommaya, which is usually closed with sutures, staples, or glue. The site will be covered by a bandage that can often be removed the next day. You will also have a CT scan of your head to make sure it is in the right place before your ommaya reservoir is used.
Because the placement of an ommaya reservoir is a surgical procedure, you may be told to not have anything to eat at least eight hours before the surgery. You may also be told to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before your surgery. It is important to follow the instructions given to you by your care team.
How do I care for the ommaya?
Follow your care team’s instructions regarding care of your ommaya shunt after placement. You may not be able to shower for the first couple of days after surgery and you will want to keep your incision clean and dry. If the site becomes red, tender, bleeds uncontrollably, oozes pus, or if the incision opens, call your surgeon or care team right away. If you are having dizziness or headaches, call your care team.
Healthline. Ommaya Reservoirs. Found at: https://www.healthline.com/health/ommaya-reservoir#takeaway
Lane, Jessica and Zacharia, Brad E. Endoscopic-Assisted Ommaya Reservoir Placement: Technical Note. Cureus. 2017. 9(7): e 1490. Found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605123/