Some individuals with Chiari malformation type 1 do not have symptoms and do not require treatment. People who have mild symptoms, without syringomyelia, can typically be treated conservatively. Mild neck pain and headaches can usually be treated with pain medications, muscle relaxants, and the occasional use of a soft collar.
People with more severe symptoms may need surgery. Surgery is the only treatment available to correct functional disturbances or stop the progression of damage to the central nervous system. The goals of surgical treatment are decompression of the point where the skull meets the spine (the cervicomedullary junction) and restoration of normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the region of the foramen magnum (the hole in the bottom of the skull where the spinal cord passes to connect to the brain).Prognosis after surgery for the condition is generally good and typically depends on the extent of neurological deficits that were present before the surgery. Most people have a reduction of symptoms and/or prolonged periods of relative stability. More than one surgery may be needed to treat the condition.
Last updated: 8/11/2017
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