The signs and symptoms of Chiari malformation can vary greatly from one person to another. Some individuals may not have any symptoms asymptomatic upon diagnosis as an incidental finding; others may have serious manifestations such as neurological deficits. Symptoms may go through periods of exacerbation and remission.
Patient education is a powerful weapon in our battle against Chiari and syringomyelia. An informed patient is able to intelligently select a doctor, understand the issues and choices that must be made, be proactive, and most importantly, take charge of their healthcare. These FAQ's are for informational purposes only and in no way represent an attempt to provide medical advice.
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Chiari pronounced key-AR-ee malformation is a condition in which the lower part of the brain, called the cerebellar tonsil, herniates down through the skull and into the spinal canal. The herniated tissue blocks the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid CSF. Instead of moving in an easy, pulsating movement through this opening, the fluid begins to force its way through — like a water hammer — pushing the tonsils down even farther.
Since the beginning of to the present, PubMed has indexed published papers, or an average of 2. However, as CM is a rare disease, most of the published studies are retrospective and based on small numbers. Meta-analyses are only as good as the quality of the primary data, which is mostly low to medium evidence in the case of CM.
Back to Health A to Z. A Chiari malformation, previously called an Arnold-Chiari malformation, is where the lower part of the brain pushes down into the spinal canal. In someone with Chiari I, the lowest part of the back of the brain extends into the spinal canal.
Chiari malformation CM is a structural defect in the cerebellum, characterized by a downward displacement of one or both cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum the opening at the base of the skull. CMs can cause headaches, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, dizziness, neck pain, unsteady gait, poor hand coordination, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, and speech problems. This can sometimes lead to non-communicating hydrocephalus  as a result of obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid CSF outflow.
The Mayfield Chiari Center provides neurosurgical evaluation and treatment of adult patients with Chiari malformation. If you are seeking treatment in Cincinnati, we offer a no-cost case review by one of our neurosurgeons. For more information, call and ask for a Chiari Initial Care Specialist.
Forty adult patients average age 40 yearswith the clinical and radiological features of the Chiari malformations, were seen at the Toronto Western Hospital between and Surgical confirmation of the diagnosis was obtained in 32 cases; of these, 23 were classified as Chiari I malformation while 9 fulfilled the anatomic criteria of Chiari II. The patient population consisted of 22 males and 18 females.