Our commitment to keeping you safe

We have never taken for granted the sacred trust you place in us to care for your child, and today we are more grateful than ever for that privilege. To learn about all the ways we are working to keep you, your family and our team members safe, visit our COVID-19 updates page.

Pediatric Chiari Malformations

A Chiari malformation causes brain tissue to extend into a child’s spinal canal.

What are Pediatric Chiari Malformations ?

When a child has a Chiari malformation, this means that brain tissue extends into the spinal canal. This occurs when part of the skull is unusually small or misshapen, which presses on the brain and forces it downward.

What are the different types of Pediatric Chiari Malformations ?

There are three types of Chiari malformations

Chiari malformation type I

This condition develops as the skull and brain are growing. Therefore, symptoms usually don’t occur until later childhood or early adulthood.

Chiari malformation type II

This congenital (present at birth) condition is usually diagnosed by ultrasound in pregnancy, or shortly after birth.

Chiari malformation type III

Also usually diagnosed during pregnancy or shortly after birth, this is the most severe, rare type of this condition. This type has a higher mortality (death) rate and can cause neurological problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Chiari Malformations ?

Signs and symptoms of Chiari malformations vary according to the type. They include:

  • Curvature of the spine (scoliosis)
  • Dizziness
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Problems swallowing
  • Problems with hand coordination
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Weakness

What are the causes of Pediatric Chiari Malformations ?

Chiari malformations are caused by structural defects in the brain and spinal cord, which occur during fetal development.

Pediatric Chiari Malformations Doctors and Providers