Calcification and related dysfunction of ventriculo-peritoneal shunts are rare events in neurosurgical practice. Shunt calcification causes shunt dysfunction in two ways, namely disconnection and obstruction. We present a 16-year-old girl with shunt malfunction due to disconnection secondary to calcification. The shunt tubing fractured during attempted removal and some of the remaining components, including the ventricular catheter, had to be left in situ. The shunt was revised and the patients symptoms resolved. Replacement of the calcified and perished shunt components with a new shunt is essential. Aggressive surgical manipulation for removal of the remaining shunt components is not advisable as this may increase morbidity and mortality. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.