Alternate Names : Cerebrospinal Fluid Fistula
Cerebrospinal fluid, also known as CSF, leak is an abnormal drainage
of cerebrospinal fluid from the subarachnoid space in the brain.
The fluid may leak out into the body, but more often it is seen leaking
through the ears, nose, or an open wound.
What is going on in the body?
CSF is formed within the inner spaces of the brain called
ventricles. The fluid travels through the ventricles and exits the
brain beneath the cerebellum, which is at the base of the head. It then travels
down the spine, around the spinal cord and nerves, and back up to the
head. The final step is passing over the top of the brain where it is absorbed.
The fluid is held between the arachnoid and dura membranes. These
membranes enclose the brain and spinal cord. Leakage
occurs when the arachnoid membrane is ruptured.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
A CSF leak is caused by a rupture of the arachnoid membrane.
This usually results from trauma, although it can occur spontaneously.
Tissue destruction caused by tumors could lead to a CSF leak.