Chiari Malformations (CMs)

Chiari malformations (CMs) are structural defects in the cerebellum.

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Chiari malformations (CMs) are structural defects in the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls balance. With CM, brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. It can happen when part of the skull is too small, which pushes the brain tissue down. There are several types of CM. One type often happens in children who have neural tube defects. Some types cause no symptoms and don’t need treatment. If you have symptoms, they may include

  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems
  • Numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Poor hand coordination

Doctors diagnose CM using imaging tests. Medicines may ease some symptoms, such as pain. Surgery is the only treatment available to correct or stop the progression of nerve damage.

 

Causes

CM has several different causes. It can be caused by structural defects in the brain and spinal cord that occur during fetal development, whether caused by genetic mutations or lack of proper vitamins or nutrients in the maternal diet.

 

Symptoms

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS, THEY MAY INCLUDE

  • Neck pain
  • Balance problems
  • Numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs
  • Dizziness
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Poor hand coordination

Medicines may ease some symptoms, such as pain.

 

Diagnosis

Doctors diagnose CM using imaging tests.

 

Treatment

Surgery is the only treatment available to correct or stop the progression of nerve damage.

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