Continuous lumbar drainage and the postoperative complication rate of open anterior skull base surgery

Barak Ringel, Narin N. Carmel-Neiderman, Aviyah Peri, Daniel Ben Ner, Ahmad Safadi, Avraham Abergel, Nevo Margalit, Dan M. Fliss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objectives/Hypothesis: Anterior skull base operations pose the risk for postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. Routine lumbar continuous drainage catheter (LD) placement is intended to decrease CSF leaks and central nervous system (CNS) complications, but there are no sound evidence-based data on its efficacy. The primary goal of this study was to review CNS complications following anterior open skull base surgery and their association with LD placement. The secondary goal was to define predictors for the development of early CNS complications. Study Design: Retrospective case series. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent anterior skull base surgery between 2000 and 2016 at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, an Israeli tertiary referral center. Results: A total of 226 patients underwent open skull base surgery, of whom 118 had elective perioperative continuous LD insertion and 108 did not. Delayed complications were defined as those occurring more than 30 days after the index operation. Thirty-one (26%) patients in the LD group had early CNS complications compared with only two (1.6%) in the non-LD group, whereas 13 (11%) of the former patients had late CNS complications compared with four (3%) of the latter patients. Early systemic and late wound complications were also significantly more numerous in the LD group. On multivariate analysis, elective LD insertion and intracranial tumor extension were found to be predictors for developing early CNS complications. Conclusions: The placement of continuous LDs might increase the risk of developing early and late CNS complications after open anterior skull base surgery. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 128:2702–2706, 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2702-2706
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuous lumbar drainage
  • complications
  • skull base


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