What is an Ommaya Reservoir?

An Ommaya reservoir is a medical device used for the delivery of medications directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain. It is a small, dome-shaped device that is implanted under the scalp and connected to a catheter that is inserted into the brain’s ventricular system. The reservoir allows healthcare professionals to administer medications, such as chemotherapy drugs or antibiotics, directly into the CSF, bypassing the blood-brain barrier and delivering treatments more effectively to the brain and central nervous system.

What Happens During an Ommaya Reservoir?

  1. Surgical Implantation: The Ommaya reservoir is typically implanted during a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made in the scalp, and a small dome-shaped device is placed under the skin.
  2. Catheter Placement: A catheter is inserted into the ventricles of the brain, allowing direct access to the CSF.
  3. Securing the Reservoir: The reservoir is secured under the skin, and the catheter is connected to it.
  4. Healing and Access: After implantation, the incision is closed, and the patient undergoes a healing period. A special needle can then be used to access the reservoir for medication administration.

    What are the Benefits of an Ommaya Reservoir?

    • Targeted Treatment: The Ommaya reservoir provides a direct route for delivering medications to the brain and spinal cord, which can be more effective than systemic treatments that may not cross the blood-brain barrier.
    • Reduced Systemic Side Effects: By delivering medications locally, the potential for systemic side effects can be minimized.

    What is the Risk of an Ommaya Reservoir?

    • As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks, including infection, bleeding, device malfunction, and adverse reactions to medications.
    • Close monitoring is necessary to ensure proper function and to manage potential complications.

      Ommaya reservoirs are managed by a multidisciplinary team involving neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, and other specialists. The decision to use an Ommaya reservoir for treatment is based on the specific medical condition, the potential benefits of localized drug delivery, and the overall health of the patient. The procedure and its implications should be thoroughly discussed with a healthcare provider to make an informed decision.