Chiari malformation is a condition in which the cerebellum protrudes into the spinal canal. This condition is quite rare, making it of the utmost importance to see a doctor with experience in dealing with it in order to obtain a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Because it is such a rare abnormality and the symptoms can be confused with other types of spinal conditions, it can be easily misdiagnosed. Dr. Todd Gravori at ProMedSPINE is one of the foremost neurosurgeons in Los Angeles, and has experience diagnosing and treating even rare conditions like chiari malformation.
Symptoms of Chiari Malformation
Some of the symptoms of chiari malformation include headaches at the back of the head, dizziness, double vision, ringing in the ears, and pain, numbness, or weakness in the extremities. As many of these symptoms are also present in other spinal conditions, if chiari malformation is suspected, imaging tests must be done to confirm the diagnosis. The imaging test for determining the presence of chiari malformation is an MRI, through which a clear picture of the skull can be obtained showing if the cerebellum is protruding into the spinal canal.
Chiari I and II malformation symptoms can appear anywhere from late childhood well into adulthood, and in some cases, manifests as a progressive disorder. If allowed to progress, the condition can lead to spinal cysts and even paralysis. In the case of chiari III, IV, V, and occasionally II, the malformation is present at birth and must be dealt with at that time.
Treatment for Chiari Malformation
Surgery is generally considered the best option for treating chiari malformation. When done by an experienced neurosurgeon, surgery can relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and alleviate symptoms. Dr. Gravori performs a procedure called posterior fossa decompression, in which pressure is relieved through removing small sections of bone on the skull and vertebrae and a small hole made in the protective outer covering of the spinal cord. This allows for spinal fluid to circulate normally, and helps to relieve symptoms.
The posterior fossa decompression surgery generally takes only two to three hours, with a relatively short recovery period. The patient will need to return for periodic follow-up visits to assess the flow of spinal fluid and check on symptoms, as well. However, this surgery has a very high success rate and is generally considered the best means of treating this malformation.
Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Gravori at ProMedSPINE Los Angeles
If you are experiencing symptoms that could be chiari malformation in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to contact expert neurosurgeon Dr. Gravori for a consultation. His experience and expertise make him the best choice for diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of spinal and neurological disorders. To learn more and to schedule your consultation, call 888.75.SPINE today.