Chiari Malformation

Neurosurgeons located in Long Beach, CA
Chiari Malformation

Chiari Malformation services offered in Long Beach, CA

If you experience head or neck pain, weakness, or poor coordination, these symptoms can indicate Chiari malformation, a brain and skull deformity. At Coast Neurosurgical Associates in Long Beach, California, the board-certified neurosurgeons offer highly effective treatments to diminish pain and restore normal musculoskeletal functioning. Call the office to schedule an evaluation, or use the online booking tab today.

Chiari Malformation Q&A

What is a Chiari malformation?

Chiari malformation is a condition that develops when brain tissue extends into your spinal canal, and part of the skull is too small or misshapen. It places pressure on the brain, leading to bothersome and dangerous symptoms. Chiari malformation appears to run in families. 

There are several main types of Chiari malformation. The Coast Neurosurgical Associates team determines which you may have to develop the most effective treatment.

What are the different types of Chiari malformations?

Two common types of Chiari malformations include:

Type 1

Chiari malformation type 1 occurs as the brain and skull grow. Symptoms might not occur until later in childhood or during adulthood. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Poor hand coordination
  • Speech problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Choking
  • Gagging
  • Weakness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Spine curvature
  • Breathing problems
  • Slow heart rhythm
  • Tingling 
  • Numbness

Tingling and numbness might develop in your hands and feet.

Type 2

Chiari malformation type 2 is present at birth. More brain tissue extends into the spinal canal than occurs with Chiari malformation type 1. Symptoms may include:

  • Breathing pattern changes
  • Gagging
  • Other swallowing problems
  • Arm weakness
  • Fast, downward eye movements 

An obstetrician often discovers Chiari malformation type 2 during routine pregnancy ultrasounds.

Which complications can occur due to a Chiari malformation?

Complications associated with Chiari malformation may include:

  • Spina bifida: undeveloped spinal cord
  • Hydrocephalus: excess fluid accumulation in the brain
  • Tethered cord syndrome: spinal cord attachment to the brain
  • Syringomyelia: cyst within the spinal column 

The Coast Neurosurgical Associates team can treat these or other disorders linked to Chiari malformation.

How is a Chiari malformation diagnosed?

Your Coast Neurosurgical Associates specialist reviews your symptoms and medical history. They also complete a physical exam and use imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, to diagnose Chiari malformation.

How is a Chiari malformation treated?

Your treatment plan may include watchful waiting, pain medication, or reducing pressure on the brain and spinal cord with surgery. The Coast Neurosurgical Associates team is highly skilled in neurosurgery, tailoring each surgical technique based on your specific condition. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with or have symptoms of Chiari malformation, schedule a consultation at Coast Neurosurgical Associates by phone or online today.