A drainage tube can be placed in the thecal sac in the lumbar region to reduce the amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). This is done for patients with increased CSF pressure. The increased CSF pressure may cause headaches in some patients. In other patients with so-called normal pressure hydrocephalus, reduction of the CSF would be helpful for the symptoms of ataxia, incontinence, and memory loss.
Lumbar drains are also placed with post-traumatic CSF leak in order to help the leak at the skull base to seal up naturally. The length of time the lumbar drains stays in place is dependent upon the location and cause of the leakage. Also the patient's ability to cooperate is a determining factor.
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