​Chiari Malformation at the UPMC Chiari Center

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Leaders in Chiari Malformation Treatment

If you're suffering from Chiari malformation symptoms, the experts at the UPMC Chiari Center offer the most advanced treatments to help you return to leading an active and healthy lifestyle.

A Comprehensive Approach to Chiari Malformation Diagnosis and Treatment

At the UPMC Chiari Center, we take a comprehensive approach when evaluating you to determine the best treatment — or combination of treatments.

To help diagnose Chiari malformation, our experts at the UPMC Chiari Center will ask about your symptoms and conduct a thorough physical exam. The treatment for Chiari malformation depends on the severity of your condition. For people who show symptoms, decompression surgery is often the best option. Rarely, we may need to use a shunt to drain the cerebrospinal fluid from the brain to the abdomen to control the problem in adults.

About Chiari Malformations

Chiari malformations in adults occur when there is a lack of space for the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination.

When the space at the bottom back of the skull is smaller than it should be, the cerebellum and the brainstem may be pushed downward. The pressure on the cerebellum can block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid and cause an array of symptoms.Chiari malformation can be categorized into three distinct forms: Chiari malformation I, II, and III.

Many people with Chiari malformation experience no outward symptoms and may not require treatment at all. Chiari malformation is usually detected during testing for unrelated disorders.

In severe cases, Chiari malformation may cause symptoms including problems with swallowing, speaking, and breathing, as well as dizziness, vision problems, and issues with fine motor skills.

Meet MaryMartha

MaryMartha – Chiari Malformation patient story 

An avid dancer and singer, MaryMartha faced a lifetime of symptoms caused by Chiari malformation. She found hope – and relief – at UPMC.

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