Magnetic resonance cisternography and thin coronal computerized tomography in the evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea

Am J Rhinol. Sep-Oct 1997;11(5):387-92. doi: 10.2500/105065897781286052.


In recent years cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea has been managed successfully with transnasal endoscopic techniques. The most important and often most difficult step is the precise localization of the fistula. Computerized tomographic and radionuclide cisternography are two commonly used techniques for preoperative identification of the CSF fistula when it cannot be seen clearly with nasal endoscopy. Each of these requires a lumbar puncture, and the intrathecal placement of contrast material has been associated with transient neurotoxicities. Magnetic resonance cisternography (MRC) is a noncontrast study that does not require a lumbar puncture and has been used recently in the diagnosis of spontaneous and traumatic CSF leaks. Magnetic resonance cisternography utilizes a fast spin-echo sequence with fat suppression and video image reversal that highlights CSF. This allows precise localization of the fistula in both coronal and sagittal planes. Thin section coronal computed tomography (TCCT) is another noninvasive technique that can be helpful in localizing CSF leaks. The technique of MRC and TCCT and the results of 16 CSF leaks in 15 patients are reported. There was good correlation between MRC, TCCT, and intraoperative findings. Magnetic resonance cisternography and thin coronal computerized tomography appear to be accurate and complementary, noninvasive radiographic studies that should be considered in the evaluation CSF rhinorrhea.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Ventriculography*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / diagnosis*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Rhinorrhea / surgery
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Ethmoid Sinus / diagnostic imaging
  • Ethmoid Sinus / pathology
  • Fistula / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Paranasal Sinus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Preoperative Care
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sphenoid Sinus / diagnostic imaging
  • Sphenoid Sinus / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*