Chiari Malformation

Have you been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation? You’ve come to the right place. With our expertise, you can feel confident that all the bases are being covered. Set an appointment with Dr. Hart Garner to discuss your condition and the best treatment options.

What is Chiari Malformation?

Chiari malformation (CM) is a structural defect in the skull that results in part of the brain extending into the spinal canal. Specifically, this condition involves the cerebellum — the part of the brain that controls balance. In Chiari malformation, part of the cerebellum, known as the cerebellar tonsils, protrudes through the foramen magnum, the natural opening at the base of the skull, and into the upper spinal canal. This can cause various neurological symptoms due to the disruption of normal cerebrospinal fluid flow and compression of brain tissue.

Chiari Malformation graphic

What is Chiari Malformation?

A Chiari malformation (CM) is a structural defect in the skull, which causes the lower brain to protrude into the spinal canal. At the base of the skull lies the cerebellum — a part of the brain that controls balance. When part of the cerebellum extends into the opening of the skull and into the upper spinal canal, it is called a Chiari malformation.
Surgeon holding spine model

Causes of Chiari Malformation

Chiari malformation is a complex set of medical conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord where they join at the base of the skull. People who have Chiari malformation are either born with it or develop it later in life as a result of an injury or infection. It has two categories depending on its causes. These are:

Primary or Congenital Chiari Malformation

Occurs during fetal development.

Acquired or Secondary Chiari Malformation
Occurs later due to traumatic injury, disease, or infection.

Known Treatments for Chiari Malformation

When patients experience symptoms like severe headaches, we prescribe medications to ease the pain. However, the best treatment for Chiari malformation is surgery. Surgery can improve or stabilize symptoms in most individuals or halt the progression of damage to the central nervous system.

Minnesota Chiari Malformation Experts

If you suffer from Chiari malformation or its symptoms, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Dr. Hart Garner delivers accurate diagnoses to help decide the suitable treatment. We discuss the risks and benefits of all options when deciding on a treatment plan for you.