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Chiari Malformation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a Chiari malformation?

A Chiari malformation (CM) is a condition that affects the position of your brain within your skull. Your cerebellum (lower part of the brain) is pushed through the hole at the bottom of your skull. This blocks the normal flow of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) between the brain and spinal canal. Your CM may be caused by problems that developed before you were born. For example, your brain may not have enough room if your skull is smaller than normal. A CM can also develop if too much CSF is drained from your spine, such as from an injury or infection.

What are the types of CM?

What signs and symptoms may happen with a CM?

You may have no symptoms, or you may have any of the following:

What other conditions may occur with a CM?

How is a CM diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. Your provider will also examine you for signs that may show you have a CM. You may also need the following tests:

How is a CM treated?

You may not need any treatment if you do not have symptoms.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage my CM?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.