Learn About Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak

What is the definition of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

A CSF leak is an escape of the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This fluid is called the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).

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What are the alternative names for Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Intracranial hypotension; Cerebrospinal fluid leak

What are the causes of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Any tear or hole in the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord (dura) can allow the fluid that surrounds those organs to leak. When it leaks out, the pressure around the brain and spinal cord drops.

Causes of leakage through the dura include:

  • Certain head, brain, or spinal surgeries
  • Head injury
  • Placement of tubes for epidural anesthesia or pain medicines
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)

Sometimes, no cause can be found. This is called a spontaneous CSF leak.

What are the symptoms of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Symptoms may include:

  • A headache that is worse when you sit up and improves when you lie down. It may be associated with light sensitivity, nausea, and neck stiffness.
  • Drainage of CSF from the ear (rarely).
  • Drainage of CSF from the nose (rarely).
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What are the current treatments for Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Depending on the cause of the leak, many symptoms improve on their own after a few days. Complete bed rest for several days is usually recommended. Drinking more fluids, especially drinks with caffeine, can help slow or stop the leak and may help with headache pain.

Headache may be treated with pain relievers and fluids. If the headache lasts longer than a week after a lumbar puncture, a procedure may be done to block the hole that may be leaking fluid. This is called a blood patch, because a blood clot can be used to seal the leak. In most cases, this makes symptoms go away. In rare cases, surgery is needed to repair the tear in the dura and stop the headache.

If symptoms of infection (fever, chills, change in mental status) are present, they need to be treated with antibiotics.

Who are the top Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
23
conditions
Otolaryngology
General Surgery

Medical University of South Carolina Health System

Rutledge Tower

135 Rutledge Ave 
Charleston, SC 29425

Rodney Schlosser is an Otolaryngologist and a General Surgeon in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Schlosser has been practicing medicine for over 26 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. He is also highly rated in 23 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps, Sinusitis, Nasal Polyps, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. He is licensed to treat patients in South Carolina. Dr. Schlosser is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
20
conditions
Otolaryngology
Allergy and Immunology

Penn Medicine

Perelman Center For Advanced Medicine

3400 Civic Center Blvd 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

James Palmer is an Otolaryngologist and an Allergy and Immunologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Palmer has been practicing medicine for over 27 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. He is also highly rated in 20 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Sinusitis, Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps, Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak, and Sinus Cancer. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania. Dr. Palmer is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
21
conditions
Otolaryngology

Penn Medicine

Perelman Center For Advanced Medicine

3400 Civic Center Blvd 
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Nithin Adappa is an Otolaryngologist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Adappa has been practicing medicine for over 17 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. He is also highly rated in 21 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Sinusitis, Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps, Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak, and Nasal Polyps. He is licensed to treat patients in Pennsylvania. Dr. Adappa is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Outlook is usually good depending on the cause. Most cases heal by themselves with no lasting symptoms.

If the CSF leak keeps coming back, high pressure of the CSF (hydrocephalus) might be the cause and should be treated.

What are the possible complications of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Complications may occur if the cause is surgery or trauma. Infections after surgery or trauma can lead to meningitis and serious complications, such as swelling of the brain, and need to be treated right away.

When should I contact a medical professional for Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Call your provider if:

  • You have a headache that gets worse when you sit up, especially if you have recently had a head injury, surgery, or childbirth involving epidural anesthesia.
  • You have a moderate head injury, and then develop a headache that is worse when you sit up, or you have a thin, clear fluid draining from your nose or ear.
How do I prevent Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?

Most CSF leaks are a complication of a spinal tap or surgery. The provider should use the smallest needle possible when doing a spinal tap.

Cerebrospinal fluid leak
What are the latest Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Clinical Trials?
The Effect of an ASC-seeded Collagen Hydrogel on Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Rates Following Skull Base Surgery
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A Pivotal Clinical Trial Evaluating the Safety and Effectiveness of Adherus™ AutoSpray and Adherus™ AutoSpray ET Dural Sealant When Used as a Dural Sealant in Spinal Procedures
What are the Latest Advances for Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak?
Comparison and evolution of transcranial versus endoscopic endonasal approaches for suprasellar Meningiomas: A systematic review.
Minimally invasive versus open surgery for patients undergoing intradural extramedullary spinal cord tumor resection: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
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Successful outcomes with flaps for recurrent cerebrospinal fluid leaks: A systematic review of the literature.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : June 23, 2020
Published By : Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Osorio JA, Saigal R, Chou D. Neurologic complications of common spine operations. In: Steinmetz MP, Benzel EC, eds. Benzel's Spine Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 202.

Rosenberg GA. Brain edema and disorders of cerebrospinal fluid circulation. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 88.