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What is Arnold-Chiari syndrome?

Chiari malformations occur when parts of the cerebellum (the section of the brain that controls balance) protrude into the spinal canal. There are four specific types of Chiari malformations. Arnold-Chiari malformations (also known as Type II Chiari malformations) happen when both cerebellar and brain stem tissue extends into the funnel-like opening to the spinal canal at the back of the skull. The nerve tissue that connects the two halves of the cerebellum may be only partially complete or absent.

Our approach

Established in 2001, the Chiari Institute of Northwell Health Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery is the world's first comprehensive, multidisciplinary center for the management of patients suffering from Chiari malformation. You or your loved one will benefit from our surgeons’ many years of experience with these complex cases.

Related conditions

Arnold-Chiari malformations are usually accompanied by a form of spina bifida that occurs when the spinal canal and backbone do not close before birth (myelomeningocele). This causes the spinal cord and its protective membrane to protrude through a sac-like opening in the back. A myelomeningocele usually results in partial or complete paralysis of the area below the spinal opening.

Types of treatment

The standard treatment for a Chiari malformation is surgery. However, it is only recommended after a thorough diagnosis and analysis of the patient’s specific condition.

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