8 doctors weighed in:

My son has a longer than normal brain stem, had a MRI to find it - what is it called? Had a seizure - had an MRI - this is the only thing they found. It is only a couple millimeters longer.

8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bjorn Krane
Neurology
4 doctors agree

In brief: One

One must always remember that a MRI of the brain is an extremely accurate study of the anatomy which includes the brain, sinuses, skull, and the meninges among other tissues.
In my 15 years as a neurologist, I have never seen a radiology report that comments on the length of the brainstem. However, some individuals will have protrusion of the cerebellar tonsils through the bottom of the skull (foramen magnum). This is most often a normal finding. Once the cerebellar tonsils protrude > 3 mm then the term arnold chiari malformation is given. There are various types (i, ii, etc) which depend on other physical exam findings. One must keep in mind that there is a certain amount of arbitrariness when deriving the length of cerebellar tonsillar herniation as it all depends on the judgment of the interpreting radiologist who must decide where to measure the bottom of the skull. Since this MRI was ordered as a workup for seizures, i would consider this an incidental finding since an arnold-chiari malformation should have no direct relationship to causing seizures. These are appropriate questions to ask the physician who ordered the brainscan and if they cannot answer your questions then they should confer with the interpreting radiologist for guidance and get back to you. Good luck.

In brief: One

One must always remember that a MRI of the brain is an extremely accurate study of the anatomy which includes the brain, sinuses, skull, and the meninges among other tissues.
In my 15 years as a neurologist, I have never seen a radiology report that comments on the length of the brainstem. However, some individuals will have protrusion of the cerebellar tonsils through the bottom of the skull (foramen magnum). This is most often a normal finding. Once the cerebellar tonsils protrude > 3 mm then the term arnold chiari malformation is given. There are various types (i, ii, etc) which depend on other physical exam findings. One must keep in mind that there is a certain amount of arbitrariness when deriving the length of cerebellar tonsillar herniation as it all depends on the judgment of the interpreting radiologist who must decide where to measure the bottom of the skull. Since this MRI was ordered as a workup for seizures, i would consider this an incidental finding since an arnold-chiari malformation should have no direct relationship to causing seizures. These are appropriate questions to ask the physician who ordered the brainscan and if they cannot answer your questions then they should confer with the interpreting radiologist for guidance and get back to you. Good luck.
Dr. Bjorn Krane
Dr. Bjorn Krane
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Dr. Eric Weisman
Neurology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Cerebellar

tonsilar ectopy? Chiari malformation.
? Usually when were talking about something being a few mm long in the area of the brain stem we're talking about the cerebellar tonsils that sit just behind the brain stem. Its a fairly common finding compared with a structural abnormality of the brain stem itself.

In brief: Cerebellar

tonsilar ectopy? Chiari malformation.
? Usually when were talking about something being a few mm long in the area of the brain stem we're talking about the cerebellar tonsils that sit just behind the brain stem. Its a fairly common finding compared with a structural abnormality of the brain stem itself.
Dr. Eric Weisman
Dr. Eric Weisman
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