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:
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.
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.
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
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.