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    Chiari Malformation

    Chiari malformation is a malformation of the brain, which consists of a downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum (the opening at the base of the skull), sometimes causing obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid outflow from the intracranial space to the intra-spinal space. When such compression at the cranial-cervical junction is sufficiently extreme it can cause symptoms of headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness in the head and face, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, nausea, impaired coordination, and, in severe cases, paralysis.

    A neurosurgical operation that can lead to relief of these symptoms is referred to as Chiari decompression surgery and generally consists of a sub-occipital craniectomy with C1 and C2 laminectomy with either with or without a duroplasty.

    Chiari malformation sometimes occurs in association with other conditions such as hydrocephalus, syringomyelia, spinal curvature, tethered spinal cord syndrome, and connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome.


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