Chronic subdural hematoma as a complication of lumbar drain placement for the management of iatrogenic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak has not been previously documented in the literature. We describe such a case in a 69-year-old man who presented with right nasal obstruction secondary to an inverted papilloma involving the paranasal sinuses. The patient underwent endoscopic sinus surgery, which included a medial maxillectomy. Surgery was complicated by a small CSF leak, which was repaired intraoperatively. Five days later, the patient experienced CSF rhinorrhea, and a lumbar drain was inserted. He developed overdrainage symptoms but was well when he was discharged. However, 22 days later he returned with right hemiparesis. Computed tomography of the brain showed a left frontoparietal subdural hematoma with a mass effect. The neurosurgical team performed an emergency drainage procedure, and the patient experienced a complete neurologic recovery. We discuss the pitfalls of lumbar drainage, the possible pathophysiology of overdrainage, and the lessons learned from this case.
As more anterior skull base surgeries are being performed endoscopically by otorhinolaryngologists, we are faced with a greater likelihood of encountering neurosurgical complications. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea at the anterior skull base is a rare complication of such endoscopic endeavors. A lumbar drain is sometimes placed perioperatively as a shunt to reduce the leak.