What is Chiari Malformation?

Learn more about diagnosing and treating this structural defect in the brain.

Chiari malformation is a congenital problem that impacts the brain. More specifically, it affects the cerebellum, the area of the brain responsible for balance and coordination. Chiari malformation is a structural defect that typically occurs in-vitro. Our Sugar Land, TX, neurosurgeon Dr. Rajesh Bindal and the Texas Spine and Neurosurgery Center team can diagnose and help you better manage Chiari malformation symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Chiari malformation?

Chiari malformation doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when they do, you may experience,

  • An occipital headache (pain at the base of the skull that may get worse with coughing or straining)
  • Loss of pain sensations in the arms or upper body
  • Lack of muscle strength in the upper extremities
  • Blurry vision
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Balance issues
  • Severe neck and head pain
  • Swallowing difficulties (common in infants and young children)
  • Dizziness

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not mean that you have Chiari malformation; however, if any of these symptoms persist, you should turn to our Sugar Land, TX, neurologist to determine what’s going on. Several neurological conditions can also lead to dizziness, blurry vision, pain and loss of muscle strength.

How is Chiari malformation treated? 

Like many congenital problems, the exact type will determine the best treatment options. If the defect isn’t causing symptoms, then treatment typically isn’t necessary; however, if you are experiencing symptoms or the defect has caused the formation of a fluid-filled cyst known as a syrinx, surgery is often needed.

There are several surgical techniques to treat this structural defect. Our Sugar Land, TX, neurologist would be happy to sit down with you to discuss which options are suitable for you based on the type of Chiari malformation (and the extent of the syrinx). Sometimes surgical decompression is all that’s needed, while others may benefit from a cervical spinal fusion. Surgery can provide relief for your symptoms, but every individual is different. Some patients may require additional surgeries to achieve optimal relief from their symptoms.

Since diagnosing Chiari malformation isn’t always easy, it’s essential that you turn to our Sugar Land, TX, neurologist who has the tools to diagnose structural defects and other brain issues. Call (281) 313-0031 to schedule a consultation with the Texas Spine and Neurosurgery Center team.

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