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Chiari malformation is an abnormality in the back of the head where the brain and spinal cord meet. It causes some of the brain tissue at the base of the skull to be pushed into the spinal canal. This can cause pressure on the brain and block the normal flow of spinal fluid in and around the brain. Sometimes this leads to a buildup of spinal fluid within the spinal cord, called a syrinx.
There are four types of Chiari malformation. They are categorized by which parts of the brain are pushed into the spine and the severity of the condition:
Because type III and type IV Chiari malformations are so rare, we will focus only on type I and type II on this website.
At Boston Children’s Hospital, our team of experts has years of experience helping infants in the Department of Neurosurgery has years of experience helping infants, children and teens who have been diagnosed with a Chiari malformation.
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”