Effect of lumbar drain placement on recurrence of cerebrospinal rhinorrhea after endoscopic repair

Nadieska Caballero, Vidur Bhalla, James A. Stankiewicz, Kevin C. Welch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Lumbar drain (LD) use in the management of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea remains controversial. We analyzed the relationship between LD placement and CSF leak recurrence after endoscopic repair. Methods: A retrospective case series was conducted. Patients who underwent CSF leak repair from 1999 to 2010 were identified. Data collected included demographics, body mass index (BMI), history of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH), associated meningoencephalocele, etiology and site of leak, LD placement, fluorescein and antibiotic use, recurrence, and site of recurrence. Correlation between LD placement and leak recurrence was analyzed. Results: A total of 105 patients underwent CSF leak repair. A total of 68 patients had an LD. Of these 68 patients, 15 (22%) had a recurrent leak. Of the 105 patients, 37 did not have an LD, and 5 of the 37 (14%) recurred. Recurrence rates with and without LD were not significantly different (p = 0.15). Of the 105 patients, 40 (38%) had a spontaneous leak, 15 (14%) had a traumatic leak, and 50 (48%) had an iatrogenic leak. In the spontaneous group, 30 of 40 patients had an LD and 10 of 40 did not. Recurrence was not significant between these subgroups (p = 1.0). LD was used in 11 of 15 patients with traumatic leaks. Of these 15 patients, 4 did not have a drain. Recurrence was not significant between these subgroups (p = 1.0). In 27 of 50 patients with an iatrogenic leak, an LD was placed. Of 50 patients, 23 did not have an LD. There was no statistical significance when the recurrence rates for these subgroups were compared (p = 0.26). Conclusion: In our study, there was no association identified between LD placement and recurrence rates after endoscopic repair of CSF rhinorrhea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Forum of Allergy and Rhinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Anterior cranial fossa
  • Cerebrospinal rhinorrhea
  • Endoscopic repair
  • Leak recurrence
  • Lumbar drain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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