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Neurosurgery. 2003 Nov;53(5):1216-8; discussion 1218-9.

Recurrent spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak associated with "nude nerve root" syndrome: case report.

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  • 1Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.



Spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks have been noted occasionally at multiple sites in the same patient, but recurrent spontaneous spinal CSF leaks have not been documented. We describe a patient with a recurrent CSF leak who was found at surgery to have an absence of the entire nerve root sleeve at multiple thoracic levels.


A 29-year-old woman bodybuilder noted an excruciating orthostatic headache associated with nausea. The neurological examination was unremarkable, and a magnetic resonance imaging examination showed the typical changes of intracranial hypotension. Computed tomographic myelography showed an extensive bilateral lower cervical CSF leak.


The patient underwent bilateral lower cervical nerve root explorations, and several small dural holes were found. The CSF leaks were repaired, but 3 months later, computed tomographic myelography showed a new CSF leak in the midthoracic area. A thoracic laminectomy was performed, and several nerve roots were found to be completely devoid of dura. After the CSF leaks were repaired, there was significant improvement in her headaches.


A recurrent spontaneous spinal CSF leak may occur in patients with intracranial hypotension at a site previously documented not to be associated with a CSF leak. Absent nerve root sleeves may be found in patients with spontaneous spinal CSF leaks ("nude nerve root" syndrome), and these patients may be at increased risk of developing a recurrent CSF leak.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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