CSF Rhinorrhea

What is CSF rhinorrhea?

CSF stands for cerebrospinal fluid, which is a clear colourless, protective fluid that bathes the brain and the spinal cord, cushioning them against the trauma. CSF discharge from the nose is known as CSF rhinorrhea. Most cases of this disease occur after major accidents where bones of the face and skull experience a lot of trauma. When there is a hole in the bone and dura, CSF leaks into the sinuses.

The majority of these leaks stop on their own, but surgery may be needed if the leaking continues even after 48 hours. The upsetting of the barriers between the sinonasal cavity and the anterior and middle cranial is the underlying factor, leading to the discharge of CSF into nasal cavity.


It is a condition where people typically complain of clear, watery drainage, usually from only one side of the nose or an ear. Headaches are a major symptom, which are more severe in the upright position and aggravate when you lie down. Patients may sense:

  • Continual salty taste or watery drainage from the nose
  • Changes in vision
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness and nausea


Some of the probable causes of this disease include:

  • Head injury
  • Spinal surgery
  • Pain medications
  • Lumbar puncture


The main risk factors include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sense of imbalance
  • Vomiting


To prevent the occurrence of this disease, one should take care of certain things:

  • Use of smallest needle, while doing the spinal tap.
    Avoid stress and anxiety.
  • Take healthy diet.

How is it diagnosed?

For the diagnosis of this disease at Medanta, the doctor will take your history and perform a physical examination. The history should include all the events associated with the onset of rhinorrhea...

How is it treated?

At Medanta, the treatment aims at stopping the fluid leakage which, to a great extent, prevents the disease from getting worse because these leaks are the root cause of its aggravated medical condition. Treatment can be either medical or surgical...

  • Conservative treatment

    It is only recommended in cases of spontaneous CSF leak or head trauma, independent of any medical or surgical ways. It would include 1-2 weeks of bed rest. A lumbar drain may be placed in the low back to decrease pressure of the CSF fluid, around the area of the leak, which often allows it to heal.

  • Surgical treatment

     It is used when the conservative treatment fails. The approach can be either through an external incision or endoscopic. The goal of surgical therapy is repair of the dural defect, contributing to the CSF leak

When do I contact the doctor?

You should immediately consult a doctor if you begin to face symptoms such as extreme dizziness, headaches, nausea and changes in vision. With their cutting-edge technology and advanced treatment, you will be ensured perfect health.

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