Chiari Malformation

March 13, 2024 by naveenadmin0

A Chiari malformation is an abnormal growth where the brain tissue in the lower back part of your skull lengthens to your spinal canal. It occurs due to structural issues such as the small size of the skull. When there is no sufficient room in the skull, then part of the brain, mainly the cerebellum, starts growing in the downward direction where there is space at your skull base, known as the foramen magnum.

This abnormal growth causes your brain to put pressure on the skull base, thereby blocking proper flow of the cerebrospinal fluid. This is the fluid responsible for cushioning your brain and spinal cord, removing waste products, and circulating nutrients and various chemicals.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain that assists in the movement of muscles, balance, coordination, speech, and posture. So, Chiari malformation leads to symptoms that impact the function of this part of the brain, such as loss of coordination and balance.

Different kinds of Chiari malformation

There are five different kinds of Chiari malformations, which are as follows:

Type 0 Chiari malformation

It is when a significantly small or negligent part of the cerebellum is formed towards the hole of the skull base. But there exists some crowding at that level. Due to the abnormal flow of the fluid near the skull base, symptoms like headache, dizziness, palpitations etc arise.

Type 1 Chiari Malformation

Type 1 happens when the lower portion of the cerebellum lengthens towards the hole present in the skull base. The spinal cord usually passes through this hole; Type 1 Chiari malformation is one of the most common types. People with this type might show symptoms once they attain adulthood.

Type II Chiari malformation

It happens during brain and spine development during the fetal stage. Here, the cerebellum and the brain stem develop abnormally, causing pressure inside the skull. It mainly occurs with a severe form of spina bifida, known as myelomeningocele. It happens when the spinal canal and the backbone do not close appropriately before the baby’s birth.

Type III Chiari malformation

This is a rare but severe type of Chiari malformation. It occurs when a few portions of your cerebellum extend through an abnormal opening at the back part of your skull. Along with that, a few membranes that surround the brain extend through this opening. Symptoms include swelling at the back part of the skull, known as encephalocele. Type III Chiari malformation also causes life-threatening symptoms, which arise during childhood.

Chiari malformation type IV

It is also rare and occurs because of an underdeveloped cerebellum or if any parts of the cerebellum are missing. This causes severe symptoms and is life-threatening for infants.


Anybody can get affected by Chiari malformation, but the risk of developing it is higher when it runs in the genes. Treatments are available for decreasing the symptoms and prohibiting life-threatening complications. Moreover, the symptoms that Chiari malformation causes have an impact on your mood, especially when you have consistent headaches and insomnia. Some even experience depression. If the condition impacts your state of mind, it’s better to consult a mental health professional.

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Dr Naveen Tahasildar has been treating the whole spectrum of spinal disorders from cervical spine to sacrum by non-operative and operative means using cutting edge technology. These patients include national as well as international from all parts of the world.

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