Most children with a Chiari malformation do not need surgery. Decompression surgery is recommended for children who continue to have severe symptoms (such as headache, neck pain or swallowing problems). This surgery reduces pressure and leaves more room for the brain and spinal cord, helping to eliminate or minimize symptoms.
Since 2000, more than 700 children have undergone decompression surgery for Chiari malformation type I at Cincinnati Children’s, with some of the best surgical outcomes in the country. Many of these children have experienced complete freedom from their symptoms or a significant reduction in symptoms. In a small number of cases, the malformation returns and the child needs a second decompression surgery.
Our experienced pediatric neurosurgeons use sophisticated, minimally invasive techniques to reduce the risks of neurological surgery. They are able to treat patients whose conditions previously were considered inoperable.
Our team provides long-term follow-up, including regularly scheduled clinic visits and, when necessary, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, to monitor your child’s progress.