Management of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage During Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion and Its Effect on Spinal Fusion

Benjamin D. Elder, Debebe Theodros, Eric W. Sankey, Mohamad Bydon, C. Rory Goodwin, Jean Paul Wolinsky, Daniel M. Sciubba, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a commonly performed procedure. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks, although uncommon, may occur and can be a potentially serious complication. Little is known regarding the fusion rate after durotomy in ACDF. This study sought to investigate the clinical outcomes and fusion rates of patients with CSF leak after ACDF. Methods In this single-institution retrospective review, 14 patients who experienced CSF leak after ACDF between 1995 and September 2014 were identified. Results The median follow-up was 13.1 months. The diagnoses included spondylosis/degenerative disc disease (n = 10), disc herniation with radiculopathy (n = 3), and kyphotic deformity (n = 1). Of ACDFs, 7 were 1-level, 5 were 2-level, and 2 were 3-level procedures. The posterior longitudinal ligament was intentionally opened in all cases, and the microscope was used in 9 cases. Durotomy was discovered intraoperatively in all cases and was generally repaired with a combination of fibrin glue and synthetic dural replacement. Lumbar drainage was used in 5 patients, and 3 patients reported orthostatic headaches, which resolved within 1 month. Two patients reported hoarseness, and 8 patients reported dysphagia; all cases were transient. Follow-up imaging for fusion assessment was available for 12 patients, and a 100% fusion rate was achieved with no postoperative infections. Conclusions ACDFs with CSF leak had a 100% fusion rate in this series, with generally excellent clinical outcomes, although it is difficult to conclude definitively that there is no effect on fusion rates because of the small sample size. However, given the relative rarity of this complication, this study provides important data in the clinical literature regarding outcomes after CSF leak in ACDFs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-640
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Volume89
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Keywords

  • ACDF
  • CSF leak
  • Durotomy
  • Spinal fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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    Elder, B. D., Theodros, D., Sankey, E. W., Bydon, M., Goodwin, C. R., Wolinsky, J. P., Sciubba, D. M., Gokaslan, Z. L., Bydon, A., & Witham, T. F. (2016). Management of Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage During Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion and Its Effect on Spinal Fusion. World Neurosurgery, 89, 636-640. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2015.11.033