We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Arnold-Chiari Malformation?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Certain types of defects in the brain’s bottom or cerebellum and the base of the skull can create an usual condition where brainstem and cerebellum move downward, inhibiting movement of spinal fluid and resulting in a wide number of symptoms, depending on severity. This is called a chiari malformation, and there are four types that may occur, including a Type I that may be relatively mild and which may not ever be diagnosed. Type II is known specifically as an Arnold-Chiari malformation, and it is a serious illness that can require multiple types of treatment.

In Arnold-Chiari malformation, which is often diagnosed at or before birth, part of the brain has been pushed into the spinal canal. Alone, this can create problems like trouble with balance, headaches, delay in coordination, feeding difficulties, breathing difficulties, and others. This is complicated by the fact that the brain malformations are present with an open spine, or spina bifida. The symptoms of this condition combine with those of Arnold-Chiari malformation, and children born with this illness may have poor control of bladder, and fractional or total paralysis in the lower part of the body.

The specific type of spina bifida associated with Arnold-Chiari malformation is myelomeningocele. This is often classed as a severe type and typically requires early surgical intervention. One of the big issues is that fluid on the brain can develop quickly. Early surgery may be needed to create a shunt in the brain that helps to process this extra fluid and drain it, and additional surgery could be necessary to close the spine. The shunt and spinal repair don’t necessarily address all issues associated with the condition

Growing pressure on the brain, even with a shunt for fluid drainage, may require more extensive brain surgery. Neurosurgeons may decide to treat Arnold-Chiari malformation or other types of Chiari malformations with surgery that helps give the brain more room. Each surgery could be individualized to patient needs but most may excise some bone in the skull, usually in the back, to create a less pressured space for the cerebellum.

Though surgery may improve certain symptoms associated with Arnold-Chiari malformation, it doesn’t fix all issues. Damage caused by spinal defect is typically permanent, even if that defect can be repaired. Early treatment, though, can make a huge difference.

For those interested in preventing Chiari Type II and spina bifida, the most important step is to begin taking folic acid supplements several months prior to pregnancy. This supplement has been shown to dramatically reduce incidence of spinal or neural tube defects. Though there is some suggestion of weak genetic link with both these disorders, folic acid use may help to negate or lower this risk.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.