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Spine and Back Health

Spinal Fluid Leak

02/10/2004

Question:

My Girlfriend had a major fusion done in her lower back, they call it a cage that they had to put in there, but now there is a sack that has formed that is attached to her spine, which is filling up with spinal fluid. They drained some of the fluid and it relieved the pressure in her back, but the next day it was filled up again. They also said that the fluid they drained was old spinal fluid due to the yellow color. Now would it be wise to have that sack removed ? Can that sack rupture ? Can it get infected ? Her doctor wasn`t able to give her an answer, because he has never seen anything like it and told her that he didn`t believe that it would rupture....can u help us

Answer:

These are all very good questions to a very unusual condition. It sounds as if she has developed what is called a pseudomeningocele - a chronic spinal fluid leak. I would recommend being evaluated by a neurosurgeon at a major hospital to see if this might be able to be repaired. 

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Response by:

Anthony Guanciale, MD
Associate Professor and Director, Division of Spine Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati