Diagnosis and management of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid fistula and encephaloceles

Joe W Kutz, Anthony M. Tolisano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewTo describe the current state in the diagnosis and management of spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid (sCSF) fistula and encephaloceles.Recent findingsThe increased incidence of obesity has resulted in more cases of sCSF fistula and encephaloceles. Obesity results in increased intracranial pressure and a greater chance of developing a sCSF fistula or encephalocele. Obstructive sleep apnea can also result in transient increase in intracranial pressure and has been shown to be common in patients with sCSF fistula. Treatment of CSF fistula is usually necessary because of the increased risk of meningitis. The use of hydroxyapatite bone cements to repair the temporal bone defects has been described with a high success rate of closing the fistula and a low complication rate. Concurrent superior semicircular canal dehiscent can be seen in up to 15% of cases and should be suspected during the surgical approach to avoid potential sensorineural hearing loss and chronic imbalance.SummarysCSF fistula and encephaloceles are an uncommon cause of hearing loss, middle ear effusion, and otorrhea, but should be recognized and repaired because of the risk of meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • cerebrospinal fluid fistula
  • encephalocele
  • hydroxyapatite bone cement
  • middle fossa craniotomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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