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Chiari Malformations occur when brain tissue extends down into the spinal canal. This cranial condition can be present at birth or can develop through adolescence and into adulthood. Many patients have no symptoms and the condition requires simple monitoring without treatment. For those requiring surgery, Dr. Sina Rajamand provides Chiari Malformation Surgery at Battle Born Brain and Spine in Reno, NV.

What is a Chiari Malformation?

For those patients that do develop symptoms from Chiari Malformations, the primary indicator is the onset of headaches. These generally occur after coughing, sneezing or straining. Other possible symptoms of a Type 1 Chiari Malformation can include:

  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems
  • Problems with fine motor skills
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Speech problems
  • Abnormal breathing

Pediatric forms of Chiari Malformations can often be detected before birth on an ultrasound. In Type 2, a greater amount of brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. Also, a form of spina bifida called myelomeningocele almost always accompanies Chiari Malformation type 2. In myelomeningocele, the backbone and the spinal canal haven’t closed properly before birth.

In a Type 3 Chiari Malformation, a portion of the cerebellum, or the brainstem, extends through an abnormal opening in the back of the skull.

Causes, Surgery for Chiari Malformations in Reno, NV

Chiari Malformations occur when the rear section of the skull is too small, crowding the brain and forcing it down into the upper spinal canal. Alternatively, it can also be caused by an abnormally large opening in the skull. In both cases, the displacement of brain tissue into the spinal canal interferes with the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, causing possible blockages. The pressure on brain tissue or the spinal cord also causes numerous neurological symptoms.

Dr. Rajamand is a skilled neurosurgeon who can perform surgery for Chiari Malformations. Most commonly, this procedure is a posterior fossa decompression. In this procedure, Dr. Rajamand removes a small section of bone at the rear of the skull to relieve pressure on the brain and spinal cord and provide more room within the skull.

Other related conditions may require other procedures. For example, excess fluid buildup on the brain may require Dr. Rajamand to surgically implant a shunt for drainage. He may also need to remove a section of the spine to create more room and to prevent brain tissue from being compressed.

Dr. Rajamand can explain more, including a thorough diagnosis, in an exam and consultation at Battle Born Brain and Spine. Contact our Reno Neurosurgical clinic today to schedule a consultation to discuss Chiari Malformations and possible treatments.