Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak Diagnosis

Cedars-Sinai is one of the few places in the country with CSF leak experts from different specialties who meet frequently to coordinate tests and discuss results. Physicians from neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, anesthesiology and neurology work together to ensure you receive an accurate diagnosis.

Our approach to CSF leak diagnosis includes:

Appropriate Care

Your care starts with noninvasive CSF leak tests, such as an MRI myelogram. This test often uncovers the source of the leak and does not require a spinal tap. Our goal is to diagnose the problem while avoiding unnecessary procedures.

Innovative Methods

Cedars-Sinai is home to internationally recognized experts who are advancing CSF leak care through research. Our efforts include identifying different types of CSF leaks and developing novel nonsurgical and surgical treatments. These methods are now in practice in hospitals all over the world. Find out more about CSF leaks we treat.

Range of Treatments

Our team of CSF leak experts develops a personalized care plan that may include nonsurgical or surgical treatments. Get more information about CSF leak treatment.

CSF Leak Tests

CSF leaks are treatable, and getting effective care starts with an accurate diagnosis. We use a range of imaging techniques to confirm or rule out a CSF leak. We consider all possible causes of your symptoms.

CSF leak tests we offer include:


This brain scan uses a strong magnet to create detailed images of your brain and spine. An MRI can help us detect signs of a CSF leak, such as:

  • Abnormal pockets of fluid in your spine
  • Your brain sagging within your skull

MRI Myelogram

If a standard MRI is negative, or we need to pinpoint the precise source of a CSF leak, we use an MRI myelogram. This test shows us the fine details of your spine and does not require a spinal tap.

Digital Subtraction Myelogram

To perform this test, we inject a special dye before the scan that makes it easier to see the differences between bones, fluid, nerves and tissue. We may digitally remove structures from the image for a better view of the leak.

Find out more about preparing for a digital subtraction myelogram.

Have Questions or Need a Second Opinion?

Call us or send a message to the team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

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