Chiari Malformation (CM)

Chiari Malformation is a structural issue with the back of the brain, involving your cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of your brain which controls your balance whenever making postural changes. The cerebellum typically sits in the space located at the base of your skull (pictured on the right). This is located just above the opening to the spinal canal known as the "foramen magnum." When CM is present the cerebellum slips down through the spinal canal (pictured on the right). Here at MD West ONE, we have Neurosurgery and Spine Specialists that can properly diagnose this issue.

Signs and Symptoms

Chiari malformation can cause symptoms such as

  • Neck pain 
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Vision issues
  • Difficulties hearing
  • Difficulties with swallowing
  • Issues with balance and coordination
  • Weakness, numbness, and other problems in the arms and legs
Chiari Malformation

The symptoms depend on the severity of the malformation. In some people, only a small part of the cerebellum pushes down through the hole. That may not cause any symptoms. In severe cases, much more of the brain's tissue pushes through. In the most severe cases, this causes death. 

What can cause Chiari Malformation?

Chiari Malformation usually happens as a fetus develops in the womb. It may be due to a genetic mutation or other issues which can cause problems with the development of the skull and brain. It may also develop later in life if you lose a lot of spinal fluid due to an injury or infection. 

Is there treatment for CM?

Treatment options depend on your needs. If your malformation is mild, medications may help. If your malformation is more severe, you may benefit from surgery. Your healthcare provider can create a care plan that is right for you.

Meet the MD West ONE Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists...

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