Spinal cord injury and surgery of any kind is a serious issue. As the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports, the US sees over 17,000 new SCIs per year and they need medical attention immediately and for months or even years after.
Whether it is a corrective surgery for chronic pain or a critical operation after a catastrophic accident, the spinal column is a sensitive area that demands focus and expertise from the head surgeon. The effects of injury or malpractice can include paralyzation and nerve damage, which makes spinal complications seem dramatic and obvious.
Cerebrospinal fluid and harmful leakage
There are other complications that may come up that do not telegraph themselves as well. Cerebrospinal fluid serves the vital purpose of transporting nutrients and getting rid of waste along your spinal column, as well as providing a liquid barrier against impact. But a leak in the dura that contains it can cause many unwanted symptoms with no clear cause.
A CSF leak may occur for many reasons including botched epidural anesthetic, spinal surgery or SCIs from whiplash or other accidents. Some happen with no clear reason. These are difficult to spot on MRIs as well and as the Migraine Resource Center reports, patients may go for years or decades with a CSF leak undiagnosed.
Symptoms and solutions
Many surgeons expect headaches post-puncture but particular severity depending on their position (sitting or lying down) may indicate a complication. Untreated, these headaches may worsen.
More serious symptoms of untreated CSF leaks include nausea, vomiting and even seizures.
Treatment may be as simple as a patch over the rupture with time and rehabilitation, but an easy treatment does not alleviate years of potentially misdiagnosed pain and suffering.