Any blow to your head may cause you to suffer a traumatic brain injury. If you hit your head on your car’s steering wheel, airbag or dashboard during a serious motor vehicle crash, you should ask a doctor to examine you for a possible TBI.
While some TBIs resolve with little or no medical intervention, others lead to long-term and life-altering complications. One of these, leaking cerebrospinal fluid, is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
The purpose of cerebrospinal fluid
Your central nervous system, which includes your brain and spinal cord, controls all your bodily functions. Cerebrospinal fluid, the clear liquid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord, stays in place behind a thin membrane. The main functions of cerebrospinal fluid are to cushion your brain and transport both nutrients and waste.
The source of a cerebrospinal fluid leak
The membrane that encases your cerebrospinal fluid forms a thin barrier between your sinuses and ear canals. Just as a blow to your head may cause you to sustain a TBI, it may also rupture this delicate membrane. If that happens, cerebrospinal fluid may leak from your ears or nose.
The dangers of a cerebrospinal fluid leak
Without a normal volume of cerebrospinal fluid, your brain may sag inside your skull. This may cause you to develop debilitating headaches. Likewise, if you have decreased cerebrospinal fluid, your brain and spinal cord may not receive the nutrients they need to function. A leak may also make you susceptible to a potentially life-threatening brain infection, such as meningitis.
Diagnosing and treating a cerebrospinal fluid leak may be expensive. Fortunately, because you may be able to seek financial compensation from the driver who caused the car crash, you may not have to pay for the consequences of someone else’s bad driving.