Chiari (type I) Malformations can occur in the setting of cerebrospinal fluid disturbance. This can result in increased intracranial pressure with symptoms such as headaches that worsen with coughing or laughing.
Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing, slurred speech, coordination difficulty, ambulation difficulty, upper extremity numbness and incontinence. In some patients, this increased pressure can result in spontaneous CSF leaks that may require additional surgery.
The treatment for a Chiari I malformation is a surgical decompression of the cerebellum. This is performed with expansion of the covering of the brain (the dura mater) using tissue harvested from the skull. Symptom recovery can be varied, depending on the type and duration of symptomatology.