Post-lumbar puncture (LP) headache may be due to "low CSF pressure", leading to stretching of pain sensitive intracranial structures. The low intracranial pressure is secondary to net loss of intracranial CSF. It has, however, not been possible to measure intracranial CSF volume accurately during life until recently. Intracranial CSF volume can now be measured non-invasively by a MRI technique. The changes in intracranial CSF volume were studied in 20 patients who had LP. Total intracranial CSF volume was reduced in 19 of the 20 patients 24 hours after LP (range -1.8 mls to -158.6 mls). Most of the CSF was lost from the cortical sulci. Very large reductions in intracranial CSF volume were frequently related to post-LP headache but some patients developed headache with relatively little alteration in the intracranial CSF volume. There was not a measurable change in position of the intracranial structures following LP.
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