What Can Cause CSF Leak?

The spinal fluid which is also referred to as cerebrospinal fluid or CSF surrounds the brain and acts as shock absorber. It protects the brain and the central nervous system from any injury. CSF also separates nutrients from the blood and spreads it across the brain and the spine. Normally, the spinal fluid is located in just a solitary place around the skull base running down the spine. CSF is separated from the sinuses by a bone which prevents it from seeping into the sinuses.

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Sometimes, however, the bone which acts as a barrier between the brain and the sinuses incurs a damage due to some injury, trauma, or in some cases some medical condition like certain forms of brain tumors. This results in the CSF leaking into the sinuses from the brain causing what is termed as a Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak or CSF Leak. An individual with a CSF leak will have persistent headaches along with constant drainage from one side of the nose. This drainage tends to get worse with any attempts at doing any strenuous activity such as bending over to pick something up.

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In some cases, the intracranial pressure significantly increases. This causes the spinal fluid to start eroding into the sinuses and ultimately breaks the barrier and enters the sinuses causing a CSF Leak. So, the question arises is a CSF leak serious?

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What Can Cause CSF Leak?

Is a CSF Leak Serious?

The answer to this question is, Yes. Sometimes, it may be serious for CSF to leak. This is because when spinal fluid leak occurs, the barrier between the brain and the nasal cavity breaks. This makes the brain more vulnerable to infections through bacteria and viruses which may invade the nasal cavity by way of nose.

An infection in the brain is quite a serious medical condition and may have catastrophic results. Meningitis is one such condition in which the lining of the brain gets infected as a result of a CSF leak. This condition may cause an individual to have an altered mental state, a stiff neck, with persistent headaches, and nausea.

Thus it is highly recommended that if an individual is at risk for a CSF leak then that individual goes to the emergency room for a complete checkup to rule in or rule out a spinal fluid leak. In case if a CSF leak is diagnosed then immediate treatment to fix this leak should be undertaken to prevent the brain from getting infected as a result of spinal fluid leak.

 

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 21, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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