Meningitis due to fracture of the fovea ethmoidalis during external dacryocystorhinostomy is a rare complication. We report a case of pneumocephalus and meningitis in a 51-year-old female who underwent an external dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). Although extracranial complications during or after external DCR have been well-described, only one case of meningitis has been reported in the literature. Physical examination, computerised tomography, lumbar puncture, and bacteriologic cultures were used to make the diagnosis. The patient responded well to antibiotic therapy. Her symptoms resolved immediately and she was discharged on the 21st post-operative day. This complication emphasises the importance of careful surgical technique and a thorough knowledge of regional anatomy, during DCR and similar procedures. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.