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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.

Posted on behalf of The Vascular Birthmark Center: Gregory M. Levitin, MD

200 W. 57th St., Suite 1410
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 316-0616

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Our Patient Reviews
The Vascular Birthmark Center: Gregory M. Levitin, MD

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 27 reviews

Abril M.

Dr. Levitin is very knowledgeable, compassionate and professional. Five years ago, I needed to find information about a birth mark that my newborn daughter started to grow a couple days after birth. I was afraid, I did not feel like I got any clear information about it through my insurance; also, they did not offer any course of treatment for it. I started to look for information, the birthmark was growing each day, information was scarce and I just got more scared. Finally, I found a video in Youtube from a grandmother who was very grateful after finding treatment for her grand daughter through The Birthmark Foundation. It was a huge blessing to me and my family. I found Dr. Levitin, I contacted him thinking he probably would not even answer. I was wrong, he kindly answered promptly, got in touch with me and soon he had a plan : ) I went to see him at the Birthmark Center in Los Angeles. He explained everything in a way that it was so clear to understand, no question I made was insignificant and his answers were each very informative. I really never have had an experience with a doctor who explains and speaks in such a way. I left his office knowing that my daughter was in the best hands and the best care. I first thank God for the Birthmark Foundation, a great organization with the highest quality of doctors. Also, a very special thanks to Dr. Levitin for all his help and kindness, for listening to my concerns and answering each and every question. And last, but no least, to the Birthmark Foundation Center in Los Angeles : ) I hope many children can find help/care in this place as I found it for my daughter. Thank you forever.

Ryan E.

I will be telling tales of the good doctors compassion till time comes to an end. Because of Dr Levitin, I have more confidence in my every day life. He was fast, knowledgeable, precise and all with a disarming sense of humor. Two thumbs up!

Carla M.

I wanted to show you how much better Hailey's tongue looks and let you know her speech has already improved so much!!! Her speech teacher is thrilled!!!! Thank you so much for everything you did for her. You are an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner- we are forever grateful to you!!! We are so appreciative!

Danielle L.

we are forever grateful for Dr. Levitin. My daughter Lena had surgery to remove her hemangioma that was located on her forehead at just 6 month old. she healed beautifully and we couldn't be happier with how minimal her scar is, even almost 4.5 years later. Dr. Levitin is caring, compassionate, and such a great doctor/surgeon overall. He had our daughter's best interest and I knew she was in good hands. I highly recommend him any chance I get!


My name is Chris and I was recently treated for an AVM on my forehead by Dr. Gregory Levitin of New York (New York Eye and Ear Infirmary). Thankfully, I live within a few hours of NYC. In brief, I would like to say that Dr. Levitin is very capable doctor with a lot of experience with AVMs. He responds quickly to e-mail, texts, and phone calls. He accepts insurance. He takes a "team approach" and will be your "QB" and involve other specialists as necessary. In my particular case they were Dr. Raj Shrivastava (Mt Sinai) and Dr. Raphael A. Ortiz (Lenox Hill) in NY. I recommend contacting Dr Levitin for a consultation if you suspect you have an AVM. All 3 Drs are just good people. When I spoke to them, they treated me like like an equal. I felt like they were advising me as a close friend or family member. Like many that suffer with AVMs I was at first mis-diagnosed. What was thought to be a just a simple cyst turned out to be an AVM. Surgery to remove the cyst made the AVM about 5x bigger. My treatment entailed a few MRIs and CAT scans to determine what was going on and the treatment plan. This was followed by consultation with the 3 Drs mentioned above and finally a 2-day procedure. On day 1 Dr Ortiz embolized the AVM. On day 2 Dr Levitin and Dr Shrivastava removed the AVM from my skull and put some metal mesh there to fill the "hole". It has been 6-months since the surgery and so far I have not had any recurrence. In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day and to thank these Drs for all they have done for me, I just want to give everyone a solid reference. Finding the right doctor for this type of stuff makes all the difference.

Valle S.

I just discovered this page i have also a birthmark I always experiences bully because of this. I don't know what kind of birthmark is this if it is harmful ? I hope Dr. Levitin notice this message in this way I think he can help me :) :) #DrLevitin

Alicia M.

This year marks the 10th that I contacted VBF for help. Since then I have been under the care of Dr. G Levitin and Dr. R. Ortiz, they are my guardian healing angels! Thanks VBF for not only helping me but also for letting me be a volunteer in the foundation whenever I am needed. A Big Hug to all from MIAMI... Alicia

Alexander G.

Totally positive experience. Dr. Levitin is a great professional. He has diagnosed and treated my nose breathing problem, significantly improving my quality of life. Office staff is very professional. Appointments always kept on time. Strongly recommend.