Arnold Chiari Type 1 Malformation

Children with chiari malformation have an abnormality in their brain. The part of the brain that is affected is known as the cerebellum. This area is responsible for motor control, balance and muscle tone. The cerebellum is located in the lower part of the brain. Think of it as the area right behind your upper ear.

MRI of Chiari malformation- via Wikimedia

MRI of Chiari malformation- via Wikimedia

There are different types of chiri malformation. Most kids who are affected have tonsillar herniation. This is also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation. You may also see it referred to as tonsillar ectopia. In this condition, the cerebellar tonsils are herniated, or hang down into the spinal canal.

Since the cerebellar tonsils are in the wrong position, they can cause several symptoms. Children may have headaches throughout the day. Sometimes, when a child coughs or sneezes, the pain is made worse. Young people may also experience dizziness, problems with their eyesight and muscle weakness.

If the pain and other symptoms are mild a pediatrician may just recommend conservative management of the condition. However in some cases, surgery is necessary. Surgeons may do a procedure known as a posterior fossa decompression. This creates more space in the skull for children with Arnold chiari type 1 malformation.