Chiari malformation treatment
Chiari malformation is a congenital defect where the cerebellum and brainstem are displaced towards the spinal canal. Often the anomaly may not manifest itself throughout life. Chiari syndrome can cause complications such as hydrocephalus. Surgery is the only treatment option for all types, apart from type 1 when doctors recommend pills to reduce headaches and constant monitoring.
Chiari malformation (also called Arnold-Chiari anomaly) is a neurosurgical condition when brain tissue is pressed into the spinal canal, causing painful symptoms. When this happens, the cerebellum and brainstem compress the spinal canal, blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. The cause may be a congenital deformity of the skull.
According to statistics, women are more prone to this disorder. Approximately one in 1,000 people have the illness. Doctors report that the malformation is a rare disorder with an incidence from 0.001% to 0,9%
Neurosurgeons classify Chiari malformation into several types:
- Type 1 is the most common form, often detected incidentally during the diagnosis of another disease.
- Type 2 is a severe form, often formed with another malformation - spina bifida (a spine section that does not close completely).
- Type 3 is the rarest, heaviest, and life-threatening form that causes swelling at the back of the skull.
The symptoms of the Chiari conditions vary depending on the type. Common signs include:
- Headache, back pain.
- Nausea, vomiting.
- Balance problems, vertigo.
- Ringing in the ears, double vision.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- In type 3 Chiari syndrome, people from early childhood have developmental delays and seizures.
The treatment plan is based on the severity of the symptoms. For minor signs, the doctor will monitor the condition with regular MRIs. For type 2 malformations, surgeons operate to close the spina bifida. Type 3 disease is treated with surgery only. Decompression surgery involves removing part of the cap to free up space and relieve pressure. If the baby has a cleft back, neurosurgeons can perform surgery to close the defect before birth in utero (while the child is in the womb).
The prognosis varies greatly, depending on the type of malformation, the symptoms' severity, and the complications' presence. Many people can live their entire lives with this disorder, experiencing mild signs and unaware of the defect. However, the prognosis for types 2 and 3 is less favourable and ofter requires surgical treatment.
Where can I get Chiari malformation treatment?
What are the best clinics for Chiari malformation treatment?
Who are the best doctors for Chiari malformation?
Prof. Dr. med. Bernhard Meyer from University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich
Dr. med. Peter Madjurov from Academic Hospital Bundeswehr Berlin
Dr. med. Holger Blasing from Park Clinic Weissensee Berlin
Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Gasser from Beta Clinic Bonn
Prof. Dr. med. Marcus Czabanka from University Hospital Frankfurt am Main of Goethe-University