Chiari malformation pediatric research and clinical trials

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At Boston Children’s Hospital, important technical breakthroughs are taking place in the approach to treating Chiari malformation. 

Improving outcomes for surgical treatment of syrinx

Boston Children’s is currently involved in a multi-institution study looking at the way Chiari malformation treated, specifically when treatment is warranted because of fluid cavity in the spinal cord (syrinx). 

As of right now, there is no standardized practice for the surgical treatment of syrinx. Some clinicians take a minimalist approach and believe that removal of the bone is all that’s necessary to fix the problem. The more mainstream medical consensus agrees that opening the spinal sac and sewing in a patch graft must be done in addition to removal of the bone.  While this method has a higher success rate, the additional steps add further potential for complication and increase the hospital stay and the recovery.

Boston Children’s is participating in a national trial that focuses on collecting data on every patient that undergoes surgery to have their Chiari malformation treated for syrinx. The collective findings will go into a national database, and after information on hundreds of patients is collected, we will start looking at the specific outcomes of each procedure.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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