Chiari Info

What is Chiari Malformation? Chiari Malformation is a serious neurological disorder where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum tonsils, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord protruding into the spinal canal, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing a wide range of symptoms.
 
What are Chiari Malformation symptoms? Chiari has a wide range of symptoms and everyones symptoms can be slightly different. Some very common symptoms among Chiari patients are...
 
Severe headaches and/or pressure headaches usually brought on by bending over, sitting down/standing up, coughing or even sneezing.
 
Dizziness.
 
Foggy brain, hard time remembering things at times.
 
Fatigue.
 
Trouble sleeping.
 
Trouble swallowing.
 
Trouble speaking, feeling tongue tied.
 
Extreme pain in neck and shoulders and at times pain in your back.
 
Rapid heart beat.
 
Loss of bladder and bowel control.
 
Loss of fine motor control.
 
Weakness and pain in arms and legs.
 
Extreme balance problems.
 
Numbness in hands and feet.
 
Extremely sensitive to hot and cold, or unable to feel hot and cold.
 
 
Diagnosing Chiari...
 
There are many things that go into determining whether you have Chiari Malformation. Having an MRI, a Cine MRI, Neurological Examination, Current Sypmtoms and your Symptom History. It is the Neurologist and or Neursurgeon's judgement to determine. Many patients spend years and see many doctors in order to finally get an accurate diagnosis.
 
 
Treatment for Chiari...
 
You can wait and see how your symptoms progress and see your neurologist/neurosurgeon regularly to monitor your symptoms.
 
Some patients choose to treat each of their symptoms individually and wait until absolutley neccessary for surgery.
 
Brain Surgery, also known to Chiari patients as Posterior Fossa Decompression, where they make more room in the back of your head so that your cerebellum tonsils of your brain do not protrude into your spinal canal. The surgery can be done a number of different ways. The recovery is usually 3-7 days of hospital stay and can take months to fully recover and get back to your normal activities. Many people will limit their activites moving forward in life to ensure they do not injure themselves or cause their Chiari symptoms to flare up.

Chiari Malformation Fun Facts...
 
About 1 in every 1,000 people have Chiari.
 
You can go your whole life and never have any symptoms.
 
Chiari Malformation occurs more often in women than in men.
 
Chiari Malformation was first indentified by Hans Chiari in the 1890's.
 

Chiari affects everyone differently.
 
There are over 10,000  Chiari surgeries performed each year.
 
Most people are diagnosed as children or in their late 20's or early 30's.
 
Up to 50% of Chiari patients will also develop Syringomyelia (a Neurological condition where a fluid filled cyst or syrinx forms in the spinal cord).
 
Syringomyelia can cause permanent nerve damage and paralyzation.
 
Headaches (in the back of the head) are the most commonly reported symptom for Chiari patients.
 
Many adult Chiari patients have reported problems with thinking, memory and processing information.
 
Adult patients often go 5 years before they are properly diagnosed with Chiari Malformation.
 
Many neurosurgeons report that they only recommend surgery for about 30%-50% of their Chiari patients.
 
30% to 40% of Chiari patients report excellent (symptom free, with no limitations) outcomes after having surgery for their Chiari.
 
10% to 20% of Chiari patients report poor (no improvement, with significant limitations) outcomes after having surgery for their Chiari.