Chiari Malformation Surgery
Chiari malformation is a condition that occurs in the cerebellum part of the brain which controls the balance of the body. In this structural defect, the brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It occurs when part of the skull takes an abnormal shape and puts pressure on the brain, forcing it downward into the spinal canal. Chiari malformations are more common in the females than in the males.
The path of treatment of Chiari malformation is determined by the form, severity and symptoms of the problem. In some cases, no treatment is required at all, while in others regular monitoring and medications are enough. However, in some severe cases surgical treatment is the only option.
Symptoms of Chiari malformation
In some cases of Chiari malformations there might be no symptoms at all. Alternatively, others may have symptoms such as:
- Neck pain
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Muscle weakness and paralysis
- Vision problems
- Numbness or tingling in arms or legs
Who requires a Chiari malformation surgery?
Chiari malformation may not always require a surgical treatment, but when the condition is severe, a neurosurgeon may recommend a decompression surgery.
How is the surgery performed?
The Chiari malformation or the decompression surgery is performed under general anesthesia. At the start, an incision is made in the back of the head and then a small piece of the skull of removed. Post this part of the surgery, the neurosurgeon determines whether or not the surgery has helped relieve the pressure on the spine. If further decompression is required, the neurosurgeon will start with the second step of the surgery which involves opening the dura tissue that covers and protects the brain and spinal cord. Opening the dura provides an instant relief by complete reduction of pressure on the spinal cord.
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