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About Cerebrospinal Fluid Conditions

The term cerebrospinal fluid condition describes the condition that occurs when the clear fluid that supports the brain and spinal cord escapes into other parts of the body. For most instances, treatment consists simply of bed rest, hydration and possibly a lumbar drain. However, sometimes surgical intervention—such as endoscopic neurosurgery through the nose, or open surgery using a craniotomy—is needed.

The clear fluid that escapes is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and it has a vital role in the health of the central nervous system. Bathing the brain and spinal cord, CSF cushions these organs from everyday movement, provides nourishment and washes away cellular waste products. The CSF is confined within the central nervous system by a protective membrane called the dura mater.

If the dura mater is torn, CSF can leak out of the central nervous system. The focus of this page is CSF that escapes the brain. For information about CSF leaks involving the spine, please click here.

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