Danny Bonaduce Diagnosed With Hydrocephalus – Will Undergo Brain Surgery, But He Isn’t Getting His Hopes Up

After a year of uncertainty, Danny Bonaduce finally has a diagnosis and treatment plan as he continues to struggle with speech, balance, and walking. The 63-year-old radio host was recently diagnosed with hydrocephalus and is scheduled to undergo brain surgery on Monday to alleviate some of the symptoms.

His symptoms started impacting his day-to-day life back in April 2022, when his wife, Amy Railsback, noticed his speech was a little off and he was having a hard time walking/balancing. He spent five days in the hospital and underwent a myriad of tests, but doctors were struggling to figure out what was wrong. 

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), hydrocephalus is a condition that’s characterized by a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles of the brain – it can happen to anyone at any age. The term is derived from the Greek word for water (hydro) and head (cephalus). 

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“My life was talking to doctors. I had meetings with five doctors on one single day, and nobody could figure out what it was. And I thought, ‘Well, this is a big deal. I’m falling down now. That can’t be good,” Bonaduce told TMZ on Friday – adding that they still don’t know what caused the illness or how it started.

Bonaduce is crediting his poor decisions and ‘stupid things’ he has done on reality shows over the past few decades. More specifically, he recalled getting hit in the head with a guitar and also got punched in the face by Jose Canseco – a 265 lb professional baseball player – in a celebrity boxing match in 2009. 

While they don’t have a root cause of the illness, they do have a diagnosis (hydrocephalus) and also have a treatment plan (brain surgery). The procedure, also known as shunt surgery, is designed to help drain some of the fluid out of his brain through the surgical insertion of a drainage system (known as a shunt). 

According to the Hydrocephalus Association, more than 36,000 shunt surgeries are performed every year and a majority of those surgeries are considered emergencies. Unfortunately, shunts have ‘one of the highest failure rates of any medical device on the market’ and people usually need multiple surgeries.

Danny Bonaduce Not Getting His Hopes Up

Speaking to TMZ on Friday, Danny Bonaduce detailed what the future looks like for him as he prepares for brain surgery and embarks on a lifelong battle with this disease. While he believes the shunt surgery will help alleviate his symptoms (at least partially), he’s trying to avoid getting too far ahead of himself. 

“From what I hear, if the diagnosis is correct, it’ll be 50 percent better right [away]. But I’d rather be safe than sorry,” Bonaduce said of his road to recovery. I don’t wanna get my hopes up too much that I’ll be cured … I will be completely bummed out if this doesn’t work. I can’t walk currently, I just can’t.”

Unfortunately, he doesn’t expect to get all of his mobility back and expects to be limited in what he can do on a day-to-day basis. For example, he doesn’t expect to ever run track or box again – those days are most definitely behind him. Instead, he’ll be happy just to be able to walk to the kitchen all by himself.  

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The good news is Bonaduce is back to doing what he loves as host of The Danny Bonaduce & Sarah Morning Show on iHeartRadio. While he took some time off last year, he eventually returned – all thanks to his team installing a small studio in his house, that way he can work from the comfort of his own home.

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