OBJECT The goal in this study was to compare the integrity of white matter before and after ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt insertion by evaluating the anisotropic diffusion properties with the aid of diffusion tensor (DT) imaging in young children with hydrocephalus. METHODS The authors retrospectively identified 10 children with hydrocephalus who underwent both pre- and postoperative DT imaging studies. The DT imaging parameters (fractional anisotropy [FA], mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity) were computed and compared longitudinally in the splenium and genu of the corpus callosum (gCC) and in the anterior and posterior limbs of the internal capsule (PLIC). The patients' values on DT imaging at the pre- and postshunt stages were compared with the corresponding age-matched controls as well as with a large cohort of healthy children in the database. RESULTS In the gCC, 7 of 10 children had abnormally low preoperative FA values, 6 of which normalized postoperatively. All 3 of the 10 children who had normal preoperative FA values had normal FA values postoperatively as well. In the PLIC, 7 of 10 children had abnormally high FA values, 6 of which normalized postoperatively, whereas the other one had abnormally low postoperative FA. Of the remaining 3 children, 2 had abnormally low preoperative FA values in the PLIC; this normalized in 1 patient after surgery. The other child had a normal preoperative FA value that became abnormally low postoperatively. When comparing the presurgery frequency of abnormally low, normal, and abnormally high FA values to those postsurgery, there was a statistically significant longitudinal difference in both gCC (p = 0.02) and PLIC (p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS In this first longitudinal DT imaging study of young children with hydrocephalus, DT imaging anisotropy yielded abnormal results in several white matter regions of the brain, and trended toward normalization following VP shunt placement.