This condition is identified as a congenital defect that occurs in the back of the head. It is the area where the spinal cord and brain connect. Also known as Arnold-Chiari malformation, the symptoms of Chiari malformation may be present at birth. The condition is classified by types 1-4. Type 2 is the most common one and involves part of the back of the brain shifting downward. Infants who are born with spina bifida are known to be diagnosed with Type 2 Chiari malformations

Signs and symptoms

  • Upper spinal and base of the skull not forming properly
  • Headaches worsening with exertion
  • Skull bones are larger than normal
  • Inability to absorb adequate cerebral spinal fluid
  • Brain fails to develop normally (at the back)

Note: these are just a few signs and symptoms provided for informational purposes. Do not attempt self-diagnosis based on this list.


For conditions like Chiari malformation, surgery is the only treatment that can help stop progression of damage to the central nervous system and correct functional defects. These surgeries include spinal laminectomy, electrocautery and posterior fossa decompression surgery. Some of the goals of these surgeries include restoring normal fluid circulation, relieving pressure on the spinal cord, correct irregular bony structure and more.

Northern Neurology Specialties, Dr. Jill Bressler and our Team – Experts You Can Trust for Chiari Malformation Treatment

When it comes to Chiari malformation, one should note that if the condition causes no adverse symptoms and does not affect one’s ability to carry on with daily living, no invasive treatment is needed. However, you must be sure what type of Chiari malformation is present, and confirmation can be sought via a comprehensive diagnosis. At Northern Neurology Specialties, we are capable of providing that. Depending on the diagnosis, we tailor a treatment plan to your specific case, refer to our trusted network of subspecialists, if required, and commit our expertise to maintain your treatment plan.