February 26, 2024

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Understanding the Facts About Chiari Malformations

3 min read

Chiari malformation (CM) happens when the lower part of the skull and cerebellum get defects, preventing you from enjoying your balance. Ideally, the cerebellum and other parts of the brain stem at the top of your skull permit the spinal cord to pass through it. So if a doctor realizes that some parts of your head are unusually smaller, it may be possible that you are a victim of  Roswell chiari malformation. Here are facts about the condition that the Apex Spine and Neurosurgery team wants you to know.

How to know you have Chiari malformation

Realizing that you could be having CM can be daunting because the symptoms might not show in the early stages. But you can go for CM evaluation if you have a frequent headache, neck pain, drowsiness, insomnia, ringing noises in the ears, vomiting, or muscle numbness. Remember, these symptoms can point to any disease, but it would be best to see a doctor to confirm if you have CM.

How does CM form?

Some people have structural deficiencies in their brain and spinal cord right before they were born. This can result from genetic mutations or maternal diet that may include insufficient intake of vitamins and nutrients. At first, CM might be challenging to detect since it presents little to zero symptoms. However, as individuals continue to grow, they may experience excessive draining of fluids from the lumbar or thoracic regions of the spine thanks to traumatic injury or disease.

How CM is diagnosed

At the moment, there are no tests to determine if an unborn baby will develop CM since congenital disabilities like spina bifida might aggravate it. The truth is Chiari malformations may be hard to detect if there are no symptoms. However, a doctor may perform physical exams to see if the patient’s memory, cognitive, and balance functions work. So if you are showing signs of CM, your doctor may order imaging tests to rule out other conditions like bone abnormalities or hydrocephalus.

The life expectancy of a person battling Chiari malformation

If you have been diagnosed with CM, your life expectancy depends on its type. For example, if you have Chiari type 1, you may live an everyday adult life as long as you adhere to your doctor’s instructions. The best treatment option for this type of Chiari may involve surgery. However, if you have Chiari type 2 or 3, your life expectancy might depend on specific malformations present in your body. Belonging to Chiari type 3 malformation needs advanced neurosurgical attention. Whatever the case, always ensure you see a doctor to determine the type of Chiari affecting your quality of life.

See a neurosurgeon for accurate Chiari malformation diagnosis and treatment

Now that you have Chiari malformation facts at your fingertips, finding the right specialist to spearhead your diagnosis and treatment is crucial. CM and hydrocephalus have the same symptoms, so it may be challenging to establish which of the two conditions you are battling, and detailed physical examinations may be required. To learn more about Chiari treatment procedures, schedule an online consultation with your doctor.

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