CSF(Fluid around the brain) Leak

The brain is located within the skull cap. Between the brain and the skull, there are membranes (meninges) and a bag of water (cerebro-spinal fluid). The meninges may get damaged when the skull fractures. Fluid leaks through the nose and ear. This fluid mixed with blood (which makes it difficult to identify just the fluid) may ooze out soon after the accident. But even after the flow of blood ceases, this fluid may continue to ooze out when the head is lowered. Lowering of the head causes increased intra cranial pressure aggravating the flow. The patient must take bed rest for several weeks with the head positioned above the level of the body. This position reduces pressure in the skull and helps arrest the fluid flow. Intravenous antibiotics prevent infection spreading to the brain. The damaged meninges heal and the fluid flow stops after a few weeks. If it does not stop spontaneously, surgical correction is needed by a neurosurgeon or ENT surgeon. Cerebro spinal fluid (CSF) can sometimes leak spontaneously through the nose even without head injury. This could be due to a brain tumour.


Unexplained clear nasal discharge, therefore, needs urgent medical attention. Doctors can confirm whether this fluid is CSF through laboratory investigations. Brains scans will be done for diagnosis.