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There are many ways you can help children and their families get the care they need.
Boston Children’s Hospital, we know that an early and accurate diagnosis of your child’s Chiari malformation is the first step to efficient and effective treatment.
The diagnostic tests your child might require include:
Your child should be examined by a neurologist or neurosurgeon to determine if there are any neurological abnormalities. The neurologist will also assess the severity of your child’s malformation.
If the malformation is minimal and there are no symptoms, we do not recommend treatment. If the malformation is pronounced and the child is young, follow-up may be more frequent, both clinically and by MRI.
If scoliosis is present, its progression to a curve greater than 35 degrees may mean that spinal fusion will become necessary. We try to get surgery done before curves worsen in order to lessen the likelihood of the need for a spinal fusion later on.
A child with a type I Chiari malformation almost never has a tethered spinal cord and we do not believe that such surgical explorations are needed. If your child has a type II Chiari malformation, the tethered spinal cord may occur as a result of spinal fluid build-up (syringomyelia) and not the malformation itself. In these cases, the alternative causes of tethered spinal cord will need to be explored further.
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.”