Chiari Malformation Treatment

Chiari Malformation Treatment

Chiari Malformation Treatment

Treatment

Treatment for Chiari malformation depends on the severity and the characteristics of your condition.

When headaches or other types of pain are the primary symptom, your doctor may recommend pain medication.

Your doctor may order diagnostic tests, such as:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI

An MRI is the test most often used to diagnose Chiari malformations.

If Chiari malformations cause no symptoms and do not interfere with activities of daily living, no treatment is necessary. In other cases, medications can be used to manage symptoms such as pain.

Surgery is the only treatment that can correct functional defects or stop progression of damage to the central nervous system.

In both type I and type II Chiari malformations, the goals of surgery are to:

  • Relieve pressure on the brain and spinal cord
  • Re-establish normal fluid circulation through and around the area

In adults and children with Chiari malformations, several types of surgery can be performed. These include:

Posterior fossa decompression surgery. This involves the removal of a small portion of the bottom of the skull and sometimes part of the spinal column to correct the irregular bony structure. The surgeon also may open and widen the dura. That's the firm covering of the brain and spinal cord tissues. This creates additional space for the cerebrospinal fluid to circulate.

Electrocautery. This uses high-frequency electrical currents to shrink the lower part of the cerebellum.

Spinal laminectomy. This is the removal of part of the arched, bony roof of the spinal canal. This increases the canal's size and reduces pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Additional surgical procedures may be needed to correct conditions associated with Chiari malformations such as hydrocephalus.

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Surgery usually results in a significant reduction of symptoms and a prolonged period of remission. According to Children's Hospital in Boston, which specializes in the treatment of Chiari malformations, surgery virtually eliminates symptoms in 50% of pediatric cases. Surgery substantially reduces symptoms in another 45% of cases. Symptoms are stabilized in the remaining 5%.

10 common questions about Chiari Malformation Treatment

1Can Chiari malformation be cured?
There is no cure for the malformation, however treatment can help relieve the symptoms. The treatment of Chiari Type 1 will be based on a number of factors including the severity of symptoms and whether or not syrinx exists
2Is Chiari malformation serious?
In some people, Chiari malformation can become a progressive disorder and lead to serious complications. In others, there may be no associated symptoms, and no intervention is necessary. The complications associated with this condition include: Hydrocephalus.
3What causes Chiari malformation?
Causes of Chiari Malformations Chiari malformations are usually caused by structural defects in the brain and spinal cord. These defects develop during fetal development. Due to genetic mutations or a maternal diet that lacked certain nutrients, the indented bony space at the base of the skull is abnormally small
4Is Chiari decompression brain surgery?
Chiari decompression surgery removes bone at the back of the skull to widen the foramen magnum and create space for the brain. ... The goals of surgery are to control the progression of symptoms, relieve compression, and restore the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
5Is Chiari a disability?
Arnold-Chiari Malformation and Social Security Disability. If you have Arnold-Chiari Malformation that has resulted in severe symptoms that have made you unable to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. A chiari malformation (CM) is a defect in the brain structure.
6Can Chiari affect vision?
Abnormalities affecting the eyes can also affect individuals with a Chiari malformation including double vision (diplopia), abnormal sensitivity to light (photophobia), blurred vision, involuntary eye movements (nystagmus) and pain behind the eyes.
7Can you feel a Chiari malformation?
Headache is the hallmark sign of Chiari malformation, especially after sudden coughing, sneezing, or straining. Other symptoms may vary among individuals and may include: neck pain. hearing or balance problems.
8Is Chiari genetic?
Chiari I is the most common. ... Chiari I malformation can run in families. So it may have a genetic cause.
9What does a Chiari headache feel like?
Usually, the Chiari headache is described as an intense pressure in the back of the head and is brought on, or aggravated, by exercise, straining, coughing, sneezing, laughing, bending over, or similar activities. Other common symptoms include balance problems and fullness in the ears.
10How is Chiari diagnosed?
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and conduct a physical examination. ... Tests may include: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI is often used to diagnose Chiari malformation

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