Chiari malformations (CMs) are structural defects in the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls balance. With CM, brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It can happen when part of the skull is too small, which pushes the brain tissue down. There are several types of CM. One type often happens in children who have neural tube defects. Some types cause no symptoms and don't need treatment. If you have symptoms, they may include
- Neck pain
- Balance problems
- Numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs
- Vision problems
- Difficulty swallowing
- Poor hand coordination
Doctors diagnose CM using imaging tests. Medicines may ease some symptoms, such as pain. Surgery is the only treatment available to correct or stop the progression of nerve damage.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Chiari Malformation (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in Spanish
- Chiari Malformation (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Chiari Malformation: Diagnosis (C&S Patient Education Foundation) - PDF
- Chiari Malformation: Symptoms (C&S Patient Education Foundation) - PDF
- Chiari Malformation: Treatment (C&S Patient Education Foundation) - PDF
- Finding a Neurosurgeon (C&S Patient Education Foundation) - PDF
- Taking Chiari to School: A Guide for Parents (C&S Patient Education Foundation) - PDF
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Arnold-Chiari Malformation (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Postnatal Intracranial Findings Following Fetal Repair of Spinal Dysraphisms.
- Article: Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia Associated with Hirayama Disease.
- Article: Comparison of Radiological Features and Clinical Characteristics in Scoliosis Patients With...
- Chiari Malformation -- see more articles