What is a Chiari Malformation?
Chiari Malformation Type I (CM) is a neurological disorder where part of the brain, the cerebellum (or more specifically the cerebellar tonsils), descends out of the skull into the spinal area. This results in compression of parts of the brain and spinal cord, and disrupts the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (a clear fluid which bathes the brain and spinal cord). Return To Top.
A Chiari Malformation is a congenital malformation which causes defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain which is responsible for balance, muscle control, and sensory perception. There are four grades of Chiari Malformation, with Type I being the most mild, and Type IV the most severe. Several treatment tools can be used to treat and manage a Chiari Malformation, which may allow the patient to live a relatively normal life, depending on the severity of the malformation. This malformation was first described in the 1800s by Hans Chiari. Another physician, Julius Arnold, also contributed to the body of knowledge about this birth defect, leading some people to refer to this condition as an Arnold-Chiari Malformation, in a desire to recognize both of the major early researchers. It is caused by a change in the shape of the skull which pushes down on the cerebellum, forcing the cerebellum and brain stem into the spinal canal and restricting the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. Patients