Pediatric Neurosurgery
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Chiari Malformations

A Chiari malformation (type I) is an abnormality of the junction of the head with the spine (craniovertebral junction). In this condition, the tonsils of the cerebellum lie more than 5mm below the base of the skull (known as the foramen magnum). A symptomatic Chiari I malformation can cause headaches, numbness in the arms and legs, arm and leg weakness, and in its most severe form, paralysis. Chiari malformations can also cause the formation of a cyst or syrinx in the spinal cord. A syrinx can cause scoliosis or severe curvature of the spine.

Surgery to treat Chiari malformations results in symptomatic improvement in the majority of children.

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