Cerebrospinal fluid leaks after spine tumor resection: avoidance, recognition and management
Post-operative CSF leaks are a known complication of spine surgery in general, and patients undergoing surgical intervention for spinal tumors may be particularly predisposed due to the presence of intradural tumor and a number of other factors. Post-operative CSF leaks increase morbidity, lengthen hospital stays, prolong immobilization and subject patients to a number of associated complications. Intraoperative identification of unintended durotomies and effective primary repair of dural defects is an important first step in the prevention of post-operative CSF leaks, but in patients who develop post-operative pseudomeningoceles, durocutaneous fistulae or other CSF-leak-related sequelae, early recognition and secondary intervention are paramount to preventing further CSF-leak-related complications and achieving the best patient outcomes possible. In this article, the incidence, risk factors and complications of CSF leaks after spine tumor surgery are reviewed, with an emphasis on avoidance of post-operative CSF leaks, early post-operative identification and effective secondary intervention.