This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) otorrhea is the leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) though the ear. It is a rare but very serious condition that requires rapid intervention. Symptoms include leak of clear fluid through the ear, inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain (meningitis), hearing loss, and seizures. The cause of a spinal fluid leak through the ear is a defect of the bone and meningeal layers covering the brain that separate the subarachnoid space of the brain from the middle ear and mastoid bone (located just behind the ear). The leaks occur after a surgery in the base of the skull, temporal bone fractures, congenital defects of the inner ear, trauma, or they may be spontaneous. Treatment depends on the cause and may include antibiotics, compression dressing and surgery.
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