Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks

Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks

HASC doctors provide best treatment for patching Cerenrospinal Fluid LeakCerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a clear mixture of water and electrolytes, circulating within the subarachnoid space around the brain and spinal cord. CSF is primarily produced in the choroid plexus (an area within the brain) that is attributable for approximately 50 to 80 percent of its overall daily production. A disruption in the brain lining, or in the bone separating the brain from the sinuses, may result in the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. This is where Houston Plastic Craniofacial & Sinus Surgery can help. Headed by two fellowship-certified sinus specialists, we specialize in providing medical and surgical treatment sinus and nasal problems.

Symptoms of CSF Leaks

  • Severe headaches in the upright position, which alleviate while lying down.
  • Clear watery nasal drainage from the nose that is worse when getting up from a seated or lying down position
  • Salty taste in the mouth from postnasal drainage
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (ringing sound in the ear)
  • Horizontal diplopia (double vision)
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness in the face
  • Tingling in the arms
  • Cognitive decline

These symptoms alone, however, are rather nonspecific, as other disorders such as chronic migraine, allergic rhinitis, vasomotor rhinitis, and post-traumatic headaches are also accompanied by similar problems. That’s the reason why it is essential to consult a specialist if the symptoms persist.


Tests requiring lumbar puncture:
Such tests include the creation of another puncture in the lumbar, which might exacerbate an existing leak or cause a new one.

  • Radioactive label or a fluorescent dye injection into the spinal fluid to test for the label or dye in the fluid.
  • Radiologic studies to determine the level of the leak accurately.
  • Radioisotope cisternography to identify a minimized or an absent activity over the early accumulation of radioisotope in the bladder and cerebral convexities

Tests not requiring lumbar puncture include:

  • Sinus CT scan with reconstructive imagery to view the anatomy of the skull base to look for a fracture.
  • MRI/CT fusion cisternography
  • Any postoperative CSF leak is diagnosed by the watery drainage out of a surgical incision or the nose. Using a brain MRI or CAT scan may show the origin of the CSF leak and reveal intracranial air (pneumocephalus).


Common treatments for the cerebrospinal fluid leaks include:

  • Bed rest
  • Hydration
  • Diamox
  • Lumbar drain to decrease CSF pressure and give the leak a chance to resolve spontaneously
  • Open surgical or endoscopic repair surgery of anterior skull base leaks, with rhinorrhea.

Troubled by Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks? Help is Here!

If you or someone you know is discomforted by the continual CSF leaks, the team of ENT specialists at the Houston Plastic Craniofacial & Sinus Surgery is here to help. To schedule an appointment, call us at (713) 791-0700 or fill out our consultation form.

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