CSF complications following intradural spinal surgeries in children

Victor Liu, Christopher Gillis, Doug Cochrane, Ash Singhal, Paul Steinbok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage is a complication of intradural spinal surgery and is associated with poor wound healing and infection. The incidence of CSF leak is reported at ∼16 % in adults, but little information is available in children. Purpose: The aim of this study is to determine the CSF leak rate and predisposing factors after intradural pediatric spinal surgeries. Methods: This study was a retrospective chart review of 638 intradural spinal operations at BC Children's Hospital. CSF leak was defined as pseudomeningocele or CSF leak through incision. Primary operations to untether lipomyelomeningoceles, myelomeningocele/meningocele closure, and Chiari decompressions were excluded. Results: CSF leaks occurred in 7.1 %, with 3 % having overt CSF leaks through skin (OCSF leak). CSF leaks, specifically OCSF leaks, were associated with postoperative wound infection (P = 0.0016). Sixteen of 45 cases of CSF leak required reoperation. The type of dural suture used, site of operation, or use of fibrin glue did not affect CSF leak rates. Previous spinal surgery (P < 0.0001), use of dural graft (P = 0.0043), method of dural suturing (P = 0.0023), and procedure performed (P < 0.001) were associated with postoperative CSF leakage. Patients with CSF leak were older than those without leak (98 vs. 72 months, P = 0.002). Conclusions: Our results provide evidence on intraoperative factors that may predispose to CSF leaks after spinal intradural surgery and may help guide surgical practice. This study confirms that the pediatric population shares many of the same risk factors for CSF leak as in adult populations. Further research is needed to explain how specific factors are associated with CSF leaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • CSF leak
  • Children
  • Complication
  • Outcome
  • Pseudomeningocele
  • Spinal surgery
  • Technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'CSF complications following intradural spinal surgeries in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this