Chiari malformation is a structural defects in the base of the skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. Normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem sit above an opening in the skull that allows the spinal cord to pass through it (called the foramen magnum).
What are symptoms of chiari malformation:
- neck pain
- hearing or balance problems
- muscle weakness or numbness
- difficulties swallowing or speaking
- ringing or buzzing in the ears (tinnitus)
- curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
- problems with hand coordination and fine motor skills.
Chiari malformation type I
Type I can be identified when the lower part of the cerebellum (called cerebellum tonsils) extends into the foramen magnum. Cord passes through this opening. Type I typically does not have any visible symptoms, this is the most common type of CM. It is first noticed at adulthood.
Chiari malformation type II
Type II symptoms are generally more severe than in type I, and usually appear during childhood. Treating it requires surgery. Type II is also called classic CM, where
both the cerebellum and brain stem tissue protrude into the foramen magnum.