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Chiari Malformation

Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group

Neurological Surgery located in Birmingham, AL

If you’re living with Chiari malformation and it’s causing symptoms like headaches, swallowing problems, or breathing abnormalities, you should seek care at Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group. There, the team is experienced in providing dedicated care for this condition. To work with a team of specialists, call the office in Birmingham, Alabama, to book an appointment today.

Chiari Malformation Q & A

What is Chiari malformation?

Chiari malformation is a condition that affects the portion of your brain at the base of your skull. It is an abnormality in the shape or size of your skull that puts pressure on your brain, pressing a portion of it down into your spinal canal. 

In some cases, this malformation doesn’t cause any symptoms. Some may not discover they have it until they’re getting screened or tested for a separate condition. 

When it does create symptoms, Chiari malformation can make simple tasks like swallowing much more challenging. 

What are the symptoms of Chiari malformation?

The symptoms of Chiari malformation depends on the type that’s affecting you. The most common types of Chiari malformation are:

Chiari malformation type 1

This type develops as your brain and skull grow, so it’s usually not diagnosed until late childhood or early adulthood. The primary symptom of Chiari malformation type 1 is headaches, especially severe ones that occur after you cough or sneeze. 

Additionally, it can cause symptoms, including:

  • Neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble balancing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Sleep apnea

The malformation can also create a syrinx or a fluid-filled cavity in your spinal cord. This syrinx can cause you to lose feeling and strength in your chest and arms.

Chiari malformation type 2

People with this type of Chiari malformation usually receive their diagnosis early in life. It causes more of your brain tissue to extend into your spinal canal than Chiari malformation type 1. The resulting symptoms include:

  • Apnea and other breathing abnormalities
  • Reduced arm strength
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Rapid downward eye movements

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group. There, your Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group doctor can diagnose your condition and recommend the appropriate treatment. 

How is Chiari malformation treated?

If you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t need to get any treatment.

But if your Chiari malformation is affecting you, your Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group surgeon can perform a procedure to decompress the nerve tissue in your spinal canal and restore the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid. 

For more information about Chiari malformations or treatment for your symptoms, call Birmingham Neurosurgery & Spine Group to book an appointment.