Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 159, Issue 8, pp 1379–1385 | Cite as

Predictors and incidence of orthostatic headache associated with lumbar drain placement following endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery

  • Buqing Liang
  • Sathwik R. Shetty
  • Sacit Bulent Omay
  • Joao Paulo Almeida
  • Shilei Ni
  • Yu-Ning Chen
  • Armando S. Ruiz-Treviño
  • Vijay K. Anand
  • Theodore H. Schwartz
Original Article - Neurosurgical Techniques



Orthostatic headache (OH) is a potential complication of lumbar drainage (LD) usage. The incidence and risk factors for OH with the use of lumbar drainage during endoscopic endonasal procedures have not been documented.


To investigate the incidence of post-procedure OHs associated with placement of LD in patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal procedures.


We prospectively noted the placement of LDs in a consecutive series of endoscopic endonasal skull base surgeries. Charts were retrospectively reviewed, and patients were divided into two groups: those with OH and those without. The patient demographics, drain durations, imaging findings of intracranial hypotension, pathologies and need for a blood patch were compared between the two groups.


Two hundred forty-nine patients were included in the study. Seven patients (2.8%) suffered post-dural puncture OH, which was mild to moderate and disappeared 2–8 days (median 3 days) after treatment. Blood patches were used in four patients. Significant predisposing factors were age (33.0 vs. 53.5, P = 0.014) and a strong trend for female gender (85.7% vs. 47.9%, P = 0.062). BMI and drain duration were not significant. Postoperative intracranial hypotension was diagnosed radiographically in 43% of OH patients and in 5.4% of those without OH (P = 0.003). Four (1.6%) patients required treatment with an epidural blood patch.


OH associated with intracranial hypotension in patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal procedures with LDs is an infrequent complication seen more commonly in young female patients. Radiographic signs of intracranial hypotension are a specific but not sensitive test for OH.


Craniopharyngioma Lumbar drain Meningioma Orthostatic headache Pituitary adenoma Endoscopic endonasal approach Skull base 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Disclosure of funding


Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional ethical standards. This study was approved by the hospital’s institutional review board, and consents were waived.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Buqing Liang
    • 1
  • Sathwik R. Shetty
    • 1
  • Sacit Bulent Omay
    • 1
  • Joao Paulo Almeida
    • 1
  • Shilei Ni
    • 1
  • Yu-Ning Chen
    • 1
  • Armando S. Ruiz-Treviño
    • 1
  • Vijay K. Anand
    • 2
  • Theodore H. Schwartz
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryWeill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyWeill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeuroscienceWeill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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