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CSF Leak repair?

I had a simple microdiscectomy about 3 weeks ago the fix a herniated disc in my L5 area. The week following the surgery my wound drained a ton. Was put on an antibiotic. About 10 days post surgery I developed a fever, headache and began vomiting. I went to the ER. Got tested for meningitis and had a CT of my head which came back normal. My wound was still draining a ton, ER doctor witnessed it and admitted me to the hospital. When I layed down the headaches went away. Typical CSF leaf spinal headache symptoms. Was discharged and told to stay on bed rest. Three weeks post op and the wound is still open and draining. The surgeon stitched it up really good. The stuff that was draining then decided to collect inside the skin and create a balloon in my back. I had an MRI this morning to look for a CSF leak tear. I'm given the option to have a surgery to drain the area or my back and repair the dural tear if it hasn't repaired itself. Or continue on bed rest and wait for the dural to repair itself and the fluid in my back to reside. The surgeon seems to think opening me up will put me back at square one with the headaches. What would you do?


  • I am hoping you have the CSF leak resolved by now. I had a L5 microdiscectomy and the surgeon left a sharp piece of bone which punctured my dura and I had all of those terrible symptoms you described as soon as I started walking around after surgery. When I called my surgeon's office several times to tell them what was going on they told me I was having withdrawls from stopping my pain meds. I also saw a GP who gave me a anti inflammatory injection and sent me home. Finally I called my pain specialist who diagnosed me over the phone. My surgeon had me get a myelogram and a CT scan. The myelogram hurt and made me cry, but it provided a great image to help the surgeon determine that the tear was big enough that bed rest and the blood clot patch probably wouldn't work. We decided to pop open my incision and repair the tear surgically. The surgeon stitched the dura and applied a disolvable glue patch. I had do be hospitalized 2 nights. Unfortunately my sciatic pain flared up after the dura repair surgery and it took about 8 months to finally go away. I felt pretty defeated after this all went down. I figured that I must just have terrible luck! I also lost alot of confidence in the 3 doctors that misdiagnosed my symptoms that were text book CSF leak symptoms. Looking back, I am still glad we just went right into repairing it surgically because the migraines, muscle cramping, and chills were excruciating. I just wanted it to stop asap. As soon as I woke up frim surgery those symptoms were gone. I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly!
  • I believe I had a tear in the dura of my cord and leaked slightly. I was a xxx HMO patient. I had severe autonomic life threatening vomiting for nearly 6 years. Projectile vomiting with severe migraine and inability to stand along with severe vertigo. I was on a totally liquid diet for 4 years due to the pain associated with vomiting salid. During the worst phase I would drink 3/4 cup of olive oil a day to keep my weight up.

    XXX HMO said I was depressed and insisted my symptoms were normal.

    I was dying. After an ACDF of c6 c7 I almost died several times. I was unable to get out of bed for 6 months after the surgery. I had no repair of the Dura during surgery. I played down my concerns about CSF tear as whenever I talk about my vomiting the doctors get scared and refuse to help me. It is rare. Recently a pain Dr refused to help me after a severe vomiting session saying go back to your Surgeon.

    After 6 months post surgery my vomiting almost vanished excepting if I over exert myself.

    I am 1 yr 2 mo post surgery. I am still bedridden to control my pain. Any weight bearing increases my neck pain at the site of the surgery. I am looking into euthanasia as a back up plan.

    My Dr says I am fusing and I know that either I have a spinal cord injury or I an not actually fusing. In my case I think both. I can stand about 6 hours a day with 2-3 10 mg flexural and 2-3 5 mg oxycodone.

    I had a complete block at c6 c7. Both foramina canals blocked with a bone spur in the canals and a severe broad based herniated disc. I believe I was dripping CSF out my nose.

    XXX HMO told me that the surgery was too risky and not warranted. I left XXX HMO and went out of network.

    I am on permanent disability because of Bipolar. I was and am being misdiagnosed. Since MRI's are not 3D doctors have no real way of analyzing splits in the dura. The vomiting and migraine was like being tortured in solitary confinement. I was too sick to advocate for myself.

    I also damaged my sacrum and believe the pressures in my cord and brain were to high and I felt like I had leaves in my brain and cord. I had numbness all over my body at the skin level and short bouts of total paralysis.

    After the surgery the tear at the disc level was split open further (I believe) and the vomiting was severe for about 6 months when it began to stop almost completely. My injury felt like someone was strangling me. Now it is just a light choke hold.

    My doctor says I am fine. I am not fine. I am much better yet I am still bedridden.

    Heavy activity will lead to autonomic vomiting. I have pain that starts in my feet and hands and spreads to my whole body unless I stay flat and leads to vomiting unless I lay down flat...standing no more than 6 hours a day.
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