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Doctor insights on: Chiari Malformation Decompression Surgery

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I thought when you had surgery for chiari 1 malformation decompression surgery that the headaches would go away but they are worse than ever and pain meds don't work you have to go lie down. What's up with this?

I thought when you had surgery for chiari 1 malformation decompression surgery that the headaches would go away but they are worse than ever and pain meds don't work you have to go lie down. What's up with this?

Lowpressure syndrome: Surgery for chiari 1 involves either or both resection of lowest part of cerebellum (causing the actual brainstem compression) or removal of lowest part of occipital bone and lamina of c1 & sometimes c2. This may result in sagging of brain into surgical defect causing the equivalent of spinal tap headache--ie low pressure in head due to too much decompression. Another surgery might be needed. ...Read more

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Decompression (Definition)

Decompression (surgery), a procedure used to treat spinal stenosis (in spinal decompression), carotid artery stenosis or any condition where a ...Read more


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Can decompression surgery for chiari malformation 1 relieve vision problems/issues (like blurry/double vision or seeing flashes) caused by chiari?

Can decompression surgery for chiari malformation 1 relieve vision problems/issues (like blurry/double vision or seeing flashes) caused by chiari?

Depends: The goal of Chiara surgery is to restore the normal pattern of CSF flow & thereby prevent further deterioration of the visual (& balance) symptoms of the ACM malformation. Whether this helps existing symptoms depends on how long those symptoms have been present, the type of surgery contemplated, it's success rate, age, & underlying factors. It's a question to ask the neurologist who knows you best ...Read more

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I have chiari malformation. Decompressed 2012, CSF leak surgery 2012, vp shunt 2013. Carpal tunnel result of chiari? Only small relief after surgeries

I have chiari malformation. Decompressed 2012, CSF leak surgery 2012, vp shunt 2013. Carpal tunnel result of chiari? Only small relief after surgeries

No relationship: Compression of the median nerve at the carpal tunnel has no relationship to the chiari malformation. Patients with chiari i malformation may have syringomyelia, which can cause neck and arm symptoms. However, carpal tunnel syndrome is very specific to the nerve at the wrist. Your neurosurgeon can help distinguish between the two conditions, and explain why you still have symptoms. ...Read more

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How safe is the surgery to fix a chiari malformation?

How safe is the surgery to fix a chiari malformation?

Moderately risky: Chiari decompression surgery is considered moderate risk surgery. In other words, its not like having your appendix or hernia repaired but its also not like having a complex brain tumor or aneurysm worked on either. The major risks of this surgery are severe (sometime chronic) neck pain, bleeding, infection, and a small risk of spinal fluid leak. The more scary risks (stroke) are very rare. ...Read more

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What will happen to me if I don't have surgery for a chiari malformation?

Hydrocephalus: Fluid will build up in the ventricular system of the brain with a resultant increase in pressure inside the brain/skull. ...Read more

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What are the risks of surgery to treat chiari malformation?

What are the risks of surgery to treat chiari malformation?

Many things: Surgery to decompress the herniations can either focus on removing some of the bones to allow more room, or detangling the spinal cord as it leaves the brain (rarely done). This is serious surgery that can result in infections, paralysis, problems breathing, and worse. However neurosurgeons today are incredibly trained and can do amazing things! ...Read more

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Should a child have surgery for chiari malformation if he has no symptoms?

Should a child have surgery for chiari malformation if he has no symptoms?

Possibly: Typically, asymptomatic chiari type-1 malformations are not recommended to undergo a sub-occipital decompression unless there are other associated findings. In children, if there is associated hydrocephalus, or a cervical region syringomyelia, a sub-occipital decompression may be indicated. This is to prevent future neurological decline. ...Read more

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How dangerous is surgery for the arnold chiari malformation in a 18-month old?

How dangerous is surgery for the arnold chiari malformation in a 18-month old?

It is: Chiari described different types of developmental defects of the cerebellum. Type 2 is associated with spina bifida, type 3 and type 4 are severe defects. You are probably talking about type 2 associated with spina bifida. It can cause breathing and swallowing problems. Treatment with surgery is controversial. ...Read more

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

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

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. ...Read more

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Dr. James Goodrich
174 doctors shared insights

Chiari Malformation (Definition)

Chiari malformation is a congenital condition where the connection between the brain and the ...Read more