Arnold-Chiari Malformation

What are the causes of Arnold-Chiari Malformation?

Chiari malformations are normally caused due to structural defects in the brain or spinal cord, these defects occur during the fetal development phases due to genetic mutations or a lack of certain nutrients in the mother’s diet, there is less space for bones under the skull base. As a result, pressure is exerted on the cerebellum. It stops the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. It is a fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord.

But Chiari malformation can also occur in later stages of life. If there is any injury to the bones of the base of the skull or exposure to toxic substances this can result in blockage in drainage of cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid which protects the brain and spinal cord.

What are the different conditions associated with Chiari Malformation?

Various conditions such as Hydrocephalus, Syringomyelia, Tethered cord syndrome and Spinal curvature which includes conditions such as scoliosis and kyphosis can be associated with Chiari malformation.

What are the signs, symptoms, and complications of Arnold-Chiari Malformation?

Many people will have no symptoms and don’t even need any treatment. Their condition comes into the picture if they go through any other tests for other problems they have. However, it depends on the type and severity that can cause serious effects. There are four types of Chiari malformation present but the most common types are type 1 and type 2 which are less serious.

Some common symptoms can be:

Swallowing difficulties
Problem with balance or coordination and dizziness
Pain in the lower back of head throughout the neck
Breathing, Coughing, and sneezing
Weakness of vocal cords
Differential thermal (hot and cold) sensations in upper and lower parts of the body
How is the diagnosis of Arnold-Chiari Malformation done?

The patient suspected of Chiari malformation will go through a physical examination where the doctor will check the functions controlled by the cerebellum and spinal cord. The doctor can also suggest an X-ray, CT scan, and MRI depending on the severity of the condition.

What are the different Arnold-Chiari Malformation treatments available?

If Chiari malformation causes no interference with daily activities then no treatment is required at all. Milder pain can be treated with medications. Otherwise, if there are serious symptoms then surgery is the only option that can correct the functional defects to the central nervous system.

What are the different Arnold-Chiari Malformation surgery treatments available?

Aim of the surgery in Chiari malformations is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and the brain as well as to restore the normal fluid flow in and around the area of Foramen magnum. Various surgical operations performed by the neurosurgeon are

Posterior fossa decompression surgery
Electrocautery to shrink the herniated lower part of cerebellar tonsils
Laminectomy of first cervical vertebra
Stabilization and fixation of Cranio-vertebral junction with screws and rods/plates

Dr Nitin Jagdhane is one of the best Neurosurgeon and Spine specialists for doing Cranio-Vertebral Junction (CVJ) spine surgery and Endoscopic Spine Surgery in Mumbai, India. Get in touch with Dr. Nitin Jagdhane, brain and spine specialist in Mumbai, for the best results for your Chiari malformation surgery.