Individuals with CM may complain of neck pain, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Hand coordination and fine motor skills may be affected. Symptoms may change for some individuals, depending on the buildup of CSF and resulting pressure on the tissues and nerves. Persons with a Type I CM may not have symptoms. Adolescents and adults who have CM but no symptoms initially may, later in life, develop signs of the disorder. Infants may have symptoms from any type of CM and may have difficulty swallowing, irritability when being fed, excessive drooling, a weak cry, gagging or vomiting, arm weakness, a stiff neck, breathing problems, developmental delays, and an inability to gain weight.
FIND A SURGEON : Doctors who treat Chiari Malformation
Questions to ask when consulting a surgeon that specializes in Chiari Malformation:
Do you have experience with Chiari?
Not all neurosurgeons frequently treat patients with Chiari malformation.
How many cases of Chiari have you treated?
What were the outcomes in those cases?
What complications have you seen?
Should I expect a second surgery?
What does recovery look like?
What does follow-up look like?
Do you typically need to cut the dura?
What do you use to replace any bone deficits?
When can we expect to see symptoms subside?
How long do you predict surgery will be?
Do you use subcutaneous sutures for the incision?
Like a craniofacial patient, patients with Chiari malformation benefit from a team approach, in which neurosurgeons collaborate with other specialists – including otolaryngologists (ENTs), cardiologists, gastroenterologists, and specialists in a variety of brain and spine conditions — before making a recommendation on how to proceed.