The Role of Prolonged Bed Rest in Postoperative Cerebrospinal Fluid Leakage After Surgery of Intradural Pathology

Neurosurgery 93:563–575, 2023

Postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage (CSFL) is a feared complication after surgery on intradural pathologies and may cause postoperative complications and subsequently higher treatment costs.

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether prolonged bed rest may lower the risk of CSFL.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort study including patients with intradural pathologies who underwent surgery at our department between 2013 and 2021. Cohorts included patients who completed 3 days of postoperative bed rest and patients who were mobilized earlier. The primary end point was the occurrence of clinically proven CSFL.

RESULTS: Four hundred and thirty-three patients were included (female [51.7%], male [48.3%]) with a mean age of 48 years (SD ±20). Bed rest was ordered in 315 cases (72.7%). In 7 cases (N = 7/433, 1.6%), we identified a postoperative CSFL. Four of them (N = 4/118) did not preserve bed rest, showing no significant difference to the bed rest cohort (N = 3/315; P = .091). In univariate analysis, laminectomy (N = 4/61; odds ratio [OR] 8.632, 95% CI 1.883-39.573), expansion duraplasty (N = 6/70; OR 33.938, 95% CI 4.019-286.615), and recurrent surgery (N = 5/66; OR 14.959, 95% CI 2.838-78.838) were significant risk factors for developing CSFL. In multivariate analysis, expansion duraplasty was confirmed as independent risk factor (OR 33.937, 95% CI 4.018-286.615, P = .001). In addition, patients with CSFL had significan’t higher risk for meningitis (N = 3/7; 42.8%, P = .001).

CONCLUSION: Prolonged bed rest did not protect patients from developing CSFL after surgery on intradural pathologies. Avoiding laminectomy, large voids, and minimal invasive approaches may play a role in preventing CSFL. Furthermore, special caution is indicated if expansion duraplasty was done.