For children experiencing symptoms of and who have been diagnosed with Chiari malformations, the treatment is surgery to create more space for the brain and spinal cord. Without surgery, symptoms will continue and may worsen. Risks of surgery include excessive bleeding, cerebrospinal fluid leak, infection, no relief of symptoms, paralysis, problems swallowing, abnormal eye movements and anesthesia complications.
The family and the neurosurgeon decide if surgery is the best option. They base their decision on whether the symptoms interfere with the child's ability to function well.