Treatment for a Chiari malformation
Specific treatment for a Chiari malformation will be determined by your child's doctor based on:
Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
The extent of the condition
The type of condition
Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Medical management consists of frequent physical examinations and diagnostic testing to monitor the growth and development of the brain, spinal cord, skull, and backbones.
Some types of Chiari malformations may require surgery to relieve increased pressure inside the head or neck area, or to help drain excess cerebral spinal fluid from the brain. Very severe Chiari malformations may be life-threatening.
Parents are instructed to watch for any changes that may affect the child's neurological status, including the following:
Lifelong considerations for a child with a Chiari malformation
The full extent of the problems associated with a Chiari malformation are usually not completely understood immediately at birth, but may be revealed as the child grows and develops. Children born with a Chiari malformation require frequent examinations and diagnostic testing by his or her doctor to monitor the development of the head as the child grows. The medical team works hard with the child's family to provide education and guidance to improve the health and well-being of the child.
Genetic counseling may be recommended by the doctor to provide information on the recurrences for Chiari malformation and any available testing.