What is the best treatment for Chiari malformations?
Surgery is the best treatment for children with Chiari malformations. The surgery makes more space for the brain and the spinal cord. Without surgery, a child would continue to have symptoms that may get worse over time.
What happens during surgery?
Surgery will increase the space at the bottom of the brain, where it connects to the spine.
- First, a small cut is made at the back of the head.
- The muscle is gently moved out of the way.
- A small piece of bone is removed from the bottom of the skull to create the extra space.
- The doctor may use a machine that is like an X-ray to see if the space is big enough. If the space is OK, the surgery is over and the cut is sewn up.
- The muscle and tissue in this area will protect the brain
If more space is needed:
- The doctor makes a cut in the covering of the brain, called the dura mater.
- The doctor may need to sew a patch over the opening to keep spinal fluid from leaking.
- There is also some brain tissue, called brain tonsils, found at the back of the head near the spinal opening. Brain tonsils do not have any purpose.
- Sometimes, the doctor may shrink the brain tonsils to make more room.