What Is Chiari Malformation?

By james
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The skull encases and protects the brain and brain stem, which connect to the spinal cord through an opening called the foramen magnum. In some people, the skull is insufficient to contain the entire brain. This results in portions of the cerebellum, and sometimes other parts of the brain, intruding into the foramen magnum.

This condition is called a Chiari malformation. It is named for Professor Hans Chiari, a German pathologist who noted abnormalities in the skull base during the 1890s. Although once considered quite rare, CM is becoming more widely diagnosed thanks to modern medicine.

1. What Are the 3 Main Types of Chiari Malformation?

Type I Chiari Malformation is the most common form. Characterized by an abnormally small skull base or foramen magnum, it may or may not cause symptoms. For most people, symptoms will develop in adolescence or adulthood.

A Type II CM usually presents as symptomatic during childhood. It involves a more substantial portion of the brain and sometimes the brain stem. It is also often accompanied by a type of spina bifida called myelomeningocele. Type III malformations are the rarest and most dangerous of the three. They involve an abnormal opening in the skull through which part of the cerebellum and the brain stem herniate.

Chiari Malformation

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