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A 26-year-old member asked:

is it okay not to have surgery for a chiari malformation if there are no symptoms?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nader Pouratian
Neurosurgery 18 years experience
Yes: Chiaris occur in many patients. If you are asymptomatic, you do not necessarily need surgery. However, if the chiari has caused other imagng abnormalities (like a cyst in your spine), you should consider surgery before irreversible injury and symptoms appear from the chiari.
Dr. Jennifer Berkeley
Neurology 18 years experience
Absolutely: A chiari 1 malformation is not a dangerous condition. It is usually found incidentally during the workup for a headache. The only reason to have surgery is to relieve symptoms, and often the symptoms and the chiari are unrelated so surgery doesn't help. If you do not have symptoms, then you absolutely should not have surgery.

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Last updated Jun 30, 2013
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