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Daniel Pak, MD
Daniel Pak, MD

Q: What is CSF, and what could cause a CSF leak?

A: The brain is supported by cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), which essentially acts as a shock absorber for the brain and the spinal cord. It also delivers nutrients for the central nervous system.

This CSF is encased and enveloped by what we call the meninges, a complex layer of membranes, which protects the central nervous system and also serves as a barrier from the rest of the body. CSF is constantly being reproduced and replaced; it is actually replaced and turned over about three times a day.

In some cases, this system can become disrupted. There can be many causes of the disruption; here are some of the common ones:

  • Trauma or injury, such as a fall
  • Anatomical conditions, such as a bone spurs or degenerative disc disease
  • Past medical procedures, such as a lumbar puncture or epidural anesthesia

– Dr. Daniel Pak

This question was answered during the episode of Spine Time called “CSF Leaks: Risks, Symptoms and Treatments.” A recording of this webinar, held on May 19, 2021, is available on YouTube.

To sign up for future episodes of Spine Time, where you can ask questions of our spine specialists, subscribe here.