Chiari Malformation is a congenital condition that has to do with the malformation of the skull where part of the cerebellum is squished, which could result in possible brain damage. Continue reading to learn more about the details of this condition.
Chiari I Malformation is a condition that stems from birth and includes the protrusion of the cerebellar tonsils located underneath the cerebellum. The herniation around the base of the skull can compress other parts of the brain including the brain stem, impair the flow of Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF,) and even cause a cyst to form within the spinal cord. This cyst is called a syrinx which can be severely detrimental to a patient’s health with Chiari. If CSF flow is impaired, the option of surgery is recommended.
Symptoms can be present, but sometimes patients with Chiari I are unable to pinpoint them. To help specialists diagnose potential patients with Chiari an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is used to evaluate for surgery. Additional testing is involved when the CSF is impaired. If the CSF is normal, surgery is not required and the patient will only need treatments.
Surgery includes removing parts of the base of the skull so that the malformation can be extracted. This procedure is either called a craniectomy or a suboccipital decompression. The C1 bone is sometimes taken out for the surgeon to get better leverage during surgery. Overall, this can improve symptoms in some patients.
At Rocky Mountain Brain & Spine Institute, we perform Chiari I decompressions. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our BOARD CERTIFIED team.
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