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Csf Flow Study

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Overview Brief

A CSF flow study is performed using MRI techniques to assess and quantify the flow of CSF[1].

What is a CSF flow study?

The most common technique used for a CSF flow study is the 2D phase contrast MRI using flow-sensitive coding[2].

  • A CSF flow study is done to check the patency of the third ventricle, normal pressure hydrocephalus, and aqueduct stenosis.[1]
  • It is also useful in determining the CSF flow at the cervicomedullary junction.
  • The flow study gives a lot of information about the Chiari I malformation as well.

A CSF Flow study is very useful to understand what happens inside the brain and cranium without surgery.

How is the CSF flow study performed?

A CSF Flow study will need the use of an anesthetic:

  • A lumbar puncture is done to inject a radioactive fluid around your spinal cord in the lower back region.
  • The MRI scan is then performed.

The CSF flow study takes a little longer than a regular MRI scan.

Side effects/risks of CSF flow study

A CSF flow study has a few minor side effects and some rare risks:

  • Headache that might need some medicines and rest [3].
  • Low blood pressure and dizziness.
  • Some bleeding from the site of injection.
  • Temporary nerve damage.
  • Allergy to the dye.

Preparation before performing CSF flow study

The staff or technician will prepare you for the CSF flow study:

  • The procedure will be explained.
  • If you take a blood thinner, your doctor may ask you to stop it for the test.
  • You will be advised to bring all your medication along on the day of the test.
  • Avoid alcohol or other recreational drugs before the test.[3]

Post-care after CSF flow study

There are a few post care instruction you will be advised after the CSF Flow study has been completed:[3]

  • Lie flat on your back to reduce headache.
  • Your vitals will be monitored before you are released.
  • Wake up and stand up slowly to avoid dizziness.

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