CSF Leaks

CSF (Cerebrospinal fluid) is fluid encased in the membranes that surrounds the brain . CSF rhinorrhoea denotes leakage of this brain fluid into and then out of the nose. It thus signifies the presence of an abnormal communication in the layers of membranes and bone between the brain cavity and the nose. Such openings may occur after trauma, after nasal surgery, due to destruction of the bone by tumour. Occasionally there may not be a specific cause identified.

The patient complains of watery discharge from nose which becomes prominent on straining or bending forward.

This condition can lead to serious complications like meningitis (infection of the membranes of the brain) if not treated early.

The treatment includes complete evaluation of cause and site of the leak by way of chemical analysis of the fluid, endoscopic examination of the nose, high resolution CT and MRI. Initial management includes complete bed rest, antibiotics (to prevent infection of membranes of brain) and close monitoring.

If the leak fails to close on its own in a short time, the defect should be closed surgically. These days with the help of minimally invasive endoscopic instruments and techniques, such defects are commonly repaired via the nose, thus avoiding any external incisions (Endoscopic CSF leak repair) .

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