Introduction: The ventriculosubgaleal shunt has been used for the temporary bypass of the normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pathways. To date, a large series of complications from this procedure has not been elaborated upon in the literature. Patients and methods: We retrospectively reviewed all such shunts (170) placed at our institution over the last 6 years and documented all complications from this procedure. The majority of patients operated upon were premature infants with intraventricular hemorrhage and subsequent hydrocephalus. This technique was used in a much smaller group of patients in whom the peritoneal cavities were not currently candidates for distal shunt implantation but would have been with time. Other patients in whom this technique was used were those with malignant brain tumors, intraventricular abscesses, chronic truncal wounds, chronic subdural hygromas, and meningitis. Results: Complications from subgaleal shunting included infection (5.9%), intracranial hemorrhage (1.1%), and wound leakage (4.7%). Conclusions: We believe the benefits afforded by ventriculosubgaleal shunting significantly outweigh the risks of the procedure and greatly ease the burden of care for this select population of children. Based on the literature and our own experience, the complications from this procedure are not excessive or extraordinarily unique compared with other neurosurgical CSF diversion techniques. © Springer-Verlag 2005.