Chiari Malformation Specialist

Acadiana Neurosurgery

Neurosurgeons located in Lafayette, LA

Chiari malformations can have long-term effects in addition to symptoms that can take a toll on health and quality of living. At Acadiana Neurosurgery in Lafayette, Louisiana, Drs. Alan Appley and Jason Cormier employ advanced treatment techniques to relieve compression and halt the progression of symptoms so patients can enjoy better health and an improved quality of living.

Chiari Malformations Q & A

What is a Chiari malformation?

A Chiari malformation is a defect in the portion of the brain that controls balance (the cerebellum. The malformation causes brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal, and it usually forms during fetal development, typically due either to a genetic mutation or as a result of poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy. As the skull develops, the portion at the rear base of the skull doesn’t grow to a normal size. The smaller space puts pressure on the cerebellum and blocks the flow of protective fluid that normally surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Less commonly, Chiari malformation can develop later in life as a result of injury, infection or exposure to some toxins. There are four types of Chiari malformations. The most common type (type I) can be congenital or acquired later in life. Type II (also called classic Chiari malformation) is only present in children with spina bifida. Type III and type IV are very rare and usually are associated with severe neurological problems.

What symptoms can a Chiari malformation cause?

Some Chiari malformations cause no symptoms, while others can experience symptoms like:

  • headache
  • neck pain
  • dizziness
  • numbness
  • problems with coordination and balance
  • muscle weakness
  • swallowing problems
  • vision problems

Symptoms can vary significantly, depending on the type that’s present, with type I malformations often causing no symptoms unless the malformation is severe.

How are Chiari malformations treated?

When a Chiari malformation causes symptoms or poses a threat to the central nervous system, it must be treated with surgery to stop the progression of the symptoms and damage. Surgery helps relieve pressure on the brain and the spinal cord and re-establish normal circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Several techniques are used to treat Chiari malformations, including procedures to remove a small portion of the skull or the bones that form the spinal canal. Both these surgeries expand the space in the area and relieve compression. Surgery can also be used to remove a portion of the dura, the durable membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord, to promote better circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid. Other techniques may also be used to relieve compression and correct related conditions.

Major Insurance Provides Accepted

At Acadiana Neurosurgery, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed. We will be happy to submit a claim for our services to these plans as well as Medicare, with which we are a participating provider. Please remember that insurance is only a method of reimbursing the patient for fees paid to the doctor – it is not a substitute for payment. Some insurance companies pay fixed allowances for certain procedures and others pay a percentage of the charge. It is your responsibility to pay any deductible, co-insurance or any balance not paid by your insurance company. We do accept Visa, American Express and MasterCard for your convenience.

Aetna
BCBS
Beech Street
Cigna
GEHA
Gilsbar
Great West
Multiplan PHCS
United Healthcare
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