Chiari malformation is a condition that affects the brain and spinal cord. There are three types of Chiari malformation, each with its own set of symptoms and treatment options. The specialists at The Vascular Birthmark Center in New York can examine your child and determine if this condition is present and if so, if treatment is needed.
Here is some basic information about Chiari malformation and the three types that could develop in your child.
Type I Chiari Malformation
Type I Chiari malformation is the most common type of Chiari malformation. It occurs when the lower part of the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination, extends into the spinal canal. Most cases of type I and II Chiari malformation go undiagnosed because patients experience no ill effects. Type I is associated with the development of the skull and brain in early childhood and symptoms most often show up during the teen or early adult years.
Possible symptoms that may cause you to seek treatment include headaches, neck pain, dizziness and difficulty with balance and coordination.
Treatment for type I Chiari malformation may include medications to manage symptoms like pain, physical therapy to improve balance and coordination, and surgery to relieve pressure on the brain and spinal cord.
Type II Chiari Malformation
Type II Chiari malformation is also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation. It is a more severe form of Chiari malformation that is typically present at birth. In type II Chiari malformation, both the cerebellum and brainstem extend into the spinal canal. This can cause symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, breathing problems and weakness or numbness in the arms and legs.
Treatment for type II Chiari malformation may include surgery to relieve pressure on the brainstem and spinal cord. In some cases, a shunt may be placed to redirect the flow of spinal fluid and relieve pressure on the brain.
Type III Chiari Malformation
Type III Chiari malformation is the most severe form. It occurs when brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, often accompanied by a fluid-filled sac called a meningocele or myelomeningocele. This can cause symptoms such as severe headaches, neck pain, difficulty swallowing and paralysis.
Treatment for type III Chiari malformation typically involves surgery to remove the meningocele or myelomeningocele and relieve pressure on the brain and spinal cord. However, this procedure can be complicated and some individuals may still experience lifelong complications.
Chiari Malformation Specialists in New York
Chiari malformation is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of Chiari malformation, it is important to seek medical attention right away. The specialists at The Vascular Birthmark Center in New York can diagnose this condition quite early in your child’s life and develop a treatment plan if necessary. With proper management, many individuals with Chiari malformation are able to lead full and active lives.
Contact us today to schedule an exam and consultation to learn more.
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