Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Outcomes of endoscopic repair of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea without lumbar drains.

OBJECTIVE: Lumbar drains (LD) are commonly used during endoscopic repair of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea, either to facilitate graft healing or to monitor CSF fluid dynamics. However, the indications and necessity of LD placement remains controversial. The current study sought to evaluate endoscopic CSF leak repair outcomes in the setting of limited LD use.

METHODS: Patients who underwent endoscopic repair of CSF rhinorrhea between 2004 and 2014 were identified by a review of medical records. Demographic and clinical data were extracted and compared between patients who had surgery with and patients who had surgery without a perioperative LD. A univariate analysis was performed to identify factors predictive of recurrence.

RESULTS: A total of 107 patients (116 surgical procedures) were identified, with a mean follow-up of 15.8 months. Eighty-eight of 107 patients (82.2%) had surgery without an LD. The mean hospital stay was 4.48 days in the LD group versus 1.03 days in the non-LD group (p < 0.00001). There was no difference in recurrence rate between the LD and non-LD groups. Predictors of recurrence included repair technique (p = 0.04) and size of defect (p = 0.005). Body mass index, leak site (ethmoid, sphenoid, frontal), and etiology (spontaneous, iatrogenic, traumatic) were not predictive of leak recurrence.

CONCLUSION: Use of LDs in endoscopic CSF leak repair was not associated with reduced recurrence rates, regardless of leak etiology, and resulted in a significant increase in hospital length of stay. Although the use of perioperative LDs to monitor CSF dynamics may have some therapeutic and diagnostic advantages, it may not be associated with clinically significant improvements in patient outcomes or recurrence rates.

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