A Chiari 1 malformation is when the cerebellum (a part of the brain) comes through an opening at the base of the skull. Normally this space only contains the spinal cord. The condition is most often diagnosed in adolescence and adulthood and often is found by coincidence. Many children with a Chiari 1 malformation have no symptoms. As many as 50 percent of patients also have other conditions, including:

  • Cervical spina bifida
  • Scoliosis

Symptoms Chiari I malformations include:

  • Severe head and neck pain
  • Dizziness
  • Balance problems
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Severe muscle weakness

If a child has no symptoms, no treatment is needed. When symptoms are severe, surgery can correct the abnormal position of the cerebellum.