Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformations are defects in the area where the spine connects with the lower part of the brain, called the cerebellum. If the bottom of the skull isn’t formed properly, it can cause the cerebellum to push down on the spinal cord. This can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid that surrounds and protects the brain and spine.

Overview

Overview

Symptoms

Often chiari malformation symptoms begin to occur during childhood or adulthood – although some people never experience any symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Neck or head pain
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Numbness in your arms or legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Trouble swallowing

Diagnosis

First, you’ll meet with your doctor for a physical exam. You’ll talk about your symptoms, and your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. If a buildup of CSF is putting pressure on your brain or spine, you may need to have the fluid drained.

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Treatment Options

Treatment Options

Dr. Amin Kassam, Aurora’s Vice President of Neurosciences, explains the Expanded Endonasal Approach.

Treatment options include:

  • The Expanded Endonasal Approach (EEA), which does not require an incision. Instead, the fluid is removed using a thin tube inserted through the nostrils.
  • Surgery to repair the defect. This usually requires a small cut in the back of the head.

Find a Specialist

Our search tool can help you find the right neuroscience specialist.

Get a Second  Opinion

Knowing all your options can make life's toughest decisions a little easier.

Your Life Your Health

myAurora makes it easy to manage your care online, anytime.