Lumbar Drain

Lumbar Drain in Thousand Oaks, CA | Vascular Neurology of Southern California

A lumbar drain is a medical procedure performed by a skilled interventional neurologist to relieve pressure or remove excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from the spinal canal. Excess spinal fluid can lead to increased intracranial pressure, which may result in various symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, vision problems, and cognitive impairment. In severe cases, uncontrolled intracranial pressure can cause brain damage and even become life-threatening.  Slow build up of fluid in the brain can also caused what’s known as “Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus”( NPH).  In this condition  typically patient develop a triad of gait imbalance, urinary incontinence and memory impairment.

By removing excess CSF through a lumbar drain, the intracranial pressure is effectively reduced, alleviating the symptoms and preventing potential complications. CSF removal through a lumbar drain  is also use to diagnose and predict benefit of long term CSF diversion by VP shunt.  Dr. M. Asif Taqi, a quintuple board-certified neurointerventionalist at Vascular Neurology of Southern California (VNSC), is an expert in performing lumbar drain procedures. He and his team of specialists are committed to administering the treatment with the utmost skill and care and with the patient’s best interests in mind.

Learn more about lumbar drain procedures by reading on or contacting Vascular Neurology of Southern California today. We have Southern California offices in West Hills, Thousand Oaks, and Lancaster, as well as a Las Vegas, NV, location.

What Causes CSF to Accumulate?

Several factors and conditions can cause cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to accumulate:

  1. Hydrocephalus: This is the most common cause of CSF accumulation. Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the production and absorption of CSF, leading to a buildup of fluid in the brain’s ventricles. Hydrocephalus can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (developed later in life) due to various reasons, such as brain tumors, infections, head injuries, or hemorrhages.
  2. Obstruction: Obstructions within the ventricular system or the subarachnoid space can impede the normal flow of CSF, causing it to accumulate. Obstructions can result from brain tumors, cysts, scarring from previous infections, or congenital malformations. Lumbar drain is typically NOT used for obstructive hydrocephalus.
graphic of brain
  1. Overproduction of CSF: In rare cases, certain medical conditions or tumors can cause the choroid plexus, the tissue responsible for producing CSF, to produce excessive amounts of fluid. This overproduction can lead to a buildup of CSF.
  2. Impaired CSF Absorption: Reduced or impaired absorption of CSF by the arachnoid granulations can cause CSF to accumulate. This impairment can be due to inflammation or scarring from meningitis, subarachnoid hemorrhage, or other conditions affecting the meninges.
  3. Infections: Meningitis or other central nervous system infections can cause inflammation of the meninges, potentially disrupting the normal production, flow, and absorption of CSF, leading to accumulation.
  4. Brain Hemorrhage or Trauma: Bleeding or injury in the brain can cause an obstruction to CSF pathways or damage the brain’s ability to produce or absorb CSF, leading to fluid buildup.
  5. Congenital Conditions: Some individuals may be born with structural abnormalities in their brain or spinal cord that disrupt the normal flow and absorption of CSF, resulting in fluid accumulation.

Identifying and addressing the underlying cause of CSF accumulation is essential for providing appropriate treatment and preventing complications. A lumbar drain is a suitable treatment for many patients who experience CSF accumulation.

What are the Benefits of a Lumbar Drain?

A lumbar drain offers several benefits in the diagnosis and management of various neurological conditions. Some of these benefits include:

By offering these benefits, a lumbar drain can be a valuable tool in managing various neurological conditions and improving patient outcomes and overall quality of life.

What Can I Expect in a Lumbar Drain Procedure?

The lumbar drain procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia with the patient lying on their side or sitting up. The skin is sterilized, and a small incision is made in the lower back. A hollow needle is then inserted into the spinal canal, and a catheter is guided through the needle. The needle is removed, and the catheter is secured in place with sutures. The other end of the catheter is connected to a drainage system that collects the CSF. The entire procedure usually takes about 30-45 minutes.

Lumbar Drain Post-Procedure Care

After the lumbar drain procedure, patients are monitored closely for any signs of complications. The catheter is typically removed after a few days, depending on the patient’s condition and the purpose of the lumbar drain. Patients stay in ICU until lumbar drain is removed.

Schedule Your Thousand Oaks Lumbar Drain Consultation Today

At Vascular Neurology of Southern California, interventional neurologist Dr. Taqi and his team are dedicated to providing individualized and innovative care for their patients. If you or a loved one are interested in seeing how a lumbar drain can help with excess spinal fluid, consider contacting the team at Vascular Neurology of Southern California for a consultation. We will work with you to determine the best course of action and provide expert care every step of the way.

Lumbar Drain in Thousand Oaks - FAQ

The level of pain experienced during a lumbar drain procedure varies among individuals. Most patients report minimal to mild discomfort during the procedure, which is typically performed under local anesthesia. The anesthetic is used to numb the skin and surrounding tissues at the insertion site, reducing pain and discomfort as the needle and catheter are inserted into the spinal canal.

Patients may feel some pressure or a brief, sharp pain when the needle is inserted through the tissue layers and into the spinal canal. Once the catheter is in place and the needle is removed, the discomfort usually subsides.

After the procedure, some patients may experience mild pain or soreness at the insertion site, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications, as recommended by our staff. A few patients may develop a post-dural puncture headache, which typically resolves within a few days and can be treated with pain relievers, hydration, and rest.

If you are concerned about pain during a lumbar drain procedure, discuss your concerns with our team. We can provide more information about the procedure, address your concerns, and discuss measures to minimize any discomfort.

In most cases, patients are not sent home with a lumbar drain, as the drain typically requires close monitoring to ensure proper functioning, prevent complications, and manage any issues that may arise. Lumbar drains are usually placed in a hospital setting where the patient’s vital signs, intracranial pressure, and the amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drained can be closely observed. Once the underlying condition has been treated or managed and the lumbar drain is no longer needed, it will be carefully removed before the patient is discharged.