For four months, doctors believed one Arizona woman's running nose was allergies. The truth turned out to be a much more horrifying scenario – brain fluid was leaking out of her nose.
According to the University of Arizona department of surgery, whenever Aundrea Aragon bent over, clear liquid would run out of her nose.
"I was scared to death and desperate,'' Aragon said. "I knew it could not be allergies. The fluid would come out like a puddle.''
After she visited several doctors', UA surgeons finally discovered two small cracks in the back of Aragon's sphenoid sinus, which were caused by cerebral pressure. The crack ultimately allowed cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to stream through her nose.
Although the human brain replaces brain fluid, the leak put Aragon at risk of developing meningitis, in which bacteria crawls through the brain, causing either a coma or death.
While the typical surgery to fix this condition is invasive and often results in a painful recovery process and other dangerous side effects, UA surgeons were able to fix Aragon's condition without using any incisions. They performed an endoscopic procedure through her nose, using image-guided neuronavigation and fluorescein dye to locate the cracks. Then, using tissue from her nose and a small portion of belly fat, the surgeons were able to repair the cracks, stopping the leak.
The process liberated Aragon from a long, painful recovery. She is now recovering well at home with her husband and two children. She recently posted about her ordeal on her Facebook page.
"I am so grateful to [the UA surgeons] for everything they have done for us,'' said Aragon. "I had great care from a great staff. I'm here, and I am grateful I can take care of my kids."