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What is the prognosis of Chiari syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Prognoses for people with Chiari syndrome are generally positive, as most people with the condition do not have symptoms, according to the National Institute of Neurologicial Disorders and Stroke. When symptoms are present, surgery is often successful, though paralysis is usually permanent.

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Full Answer

Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends down into the spinal canal, according to Mayo Clinic. This is caused by having an abnormally small skull that presses down on the brain and forces it downward. The condition usually develops as the brain and skull are growing. As a result, most people who have the disorder don't experience symptoms until later in life, either in late childhood or early adulthood.

Chiari malformation is broken down into three types, depending on the amount of brain tissue pushed into the spinal canal, states Mayo Clinic. The most common type is type 1 Chiari malformation, in which a small amount of brain tissue pushes into the spinal canal. Symptoms of this type include neck pain, problems with balance, dizziness and vision problems. Patients with type 2 Chiari malformation have more tissue extending into the spinal canal and could experience symptoms such as problems swallowing, changes in breathing patterns and quick downward eye movements. The rarest form, type 3, has a much higher mortality rate and may cause neurological problems.

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