Cerebrospinal fluid leak

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A cerebrospinal fluid leak (CSFL) is a medical condition where the cerebrospinal fluid(CSF) in the brain leaks out of the dura mater.[1][2] This can be due to a spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak or result from different causes such as a lumbar puncture or physical trauma. While high CSF pressure can make lying down unbearable, low CSF pressure due to a leak can be relieved by lying flat on the back.[citation needed] The most common symptoms of a CSFL is extremely high pressure in the head when sitting, standing, or bending down which can be lessened by laying down flat.

A myelogram can be used to help identify a CSFL by injecting a dye to further enhance the imaging allowing the location of the leak to be found. If it is a slow leak it may not appear on a single myelogram so more than one may be needed. Due to the ease of the procedure no anesthesia is used however a local anesthetic is given.

Blood patches are the normal treatment for a CSFL, the patients blood is drawn and it is then injected into the lumbar spine. Patients are told to lie flat without moving from 2 to 24 hours after the blood patch is done. Blood patches can be done to patch CSFL in the cervical neck although it is rare for it to be done in that location, though it may take more than one blood patch to fully close the leak. Anesthesia is also uncommon for Blood Patch procedures. If you have a low pain tolerance it would be a good idea to have anesthesia for all of the procedures. If the leak is strong or fast, the loss of CSF fluid can cause the brain to drop inside the skull due to the body's inability to replenish the CSF fluid at a quick enough pace, which would show up on a MRI of the brain. This is called a Arnold–Chiari malformation where the brain is lower in the skull almost in the spinal canal.

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