Norton Children’s board-certified neurosurgeons are led by Thomas M. Moriarity, M.D., Ph.D., a recognized leader in the field with deep experience and specialized training. Our physicians have the sophisticated tools and skill to give you and your child a precise diagnosis and a treatment plan for Chiari malformation that minimizes risk, so your child can get back to being a kid.
What is Chiari malformation?
Chiari malformation is a defect in the back of the head where the brain and spinal cord meet.
There are four types. Chiari malformation type I is both the most common and the least severe. Many people have zero symptoms until late adolescence or even into adulthood. Often, an unexpected diagnosis is made after a person seeks medical attention for an unrelated issue.
The second most common form of Chiari malformation is type II. It is directly associated with spina bifida. It also can be associated with hydrocephalus and scoliosis. Surgery typically is needed to correct the abnormality.
Type III and IV are very serious and rare conditions that often result in severe disabilities or death.
Treatment of Chiari malformation
If Chiari malformation results in no symptoms, then no treatment will be necessary. However, when symptoms are present, surgery typically is the only option. During surgery for Type II, small portions of the skull and neck are removed. Additional steps may be taken, depending on the specific needs of your child.
The neurosurgery team has dealt with all types of Chiari malformations and is prepared to explain the specifics of your child’s condition.
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