Imaging of skull base cerebrospinal fluid leaks in adults

Radiology. 2008 Sep;248(3):725-36. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2483070362.


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak occurs when there is an osseous and dural defect at the skull base, with direct communication of the subarachnoid space to the extracranial space, usually a paranasal sinus. Recognition of the leak site and source and appropriate treatment are necessary to avoid rhinorrhea or otorrhea, low-pressure headaches, and meningitis, known complications of CSF leak. The imaging evaluation has evolved over the past several decades. Description of current techniques available to direct treatment options, including multidetector thin-section computed tomography, and imaging recommendations are presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myelography / methods*
  • Skull Base / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skull Base / pathology*
  • Subdural Effusion / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*