Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage is a common complication after neurosurgical intervention. It is associated with substantial morbidity and increased healthcare costs. The current systematic review and meta-analysis aim to quantify the incidence of cerebrospinal fluid leakage in the pediatric population and identify its risk factors.
The authors followed the PRISMA guidelines. The Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane database were searched for studies reporting CSF leakage after intradural cranial surgery in patients up to 18 years old. Meta-analysis of incidences was performed using a generalized linear mixed model.
Twenty-six articles were included in this systematic review. Data were retrieved of 2929 patients who underwent a total of 3034 intradural cranial surgeries. Surprisingly, only four of the included articles reported their definition of CSF leakage. The overall CSF leakage rate was 4.4% (95% CI 2.6 to 7.3%). The odds of CSF leakage were significantly greater for craniectomy as opposed to craniotomy (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.7 to 13.4) and infratentorial as opposed to supratentorial surgery (OR 5.9, 95% CI 1.7 to 20.6). The odds of CSF leakage were significantly lower for duraplasty use versus no duraplasty (OR 0.41 95% CI 0.2 to 0.9).
The overall CSF leakage rate after intradural cranial surgery in the pediatric population is 4.4%. Risk factors are craniectomy and infratentorial surgery. Duraplasty use is negatively associated with CSF leak. We suggest defining a CSF leak as "leakage of CSF through the skin," as an unambiguous definition is fundamental for future research.