Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus
Association of Manitoba

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Chiari II Malformation

Many children with Spina Bifida have a malformation of the brain stem called the Chiari II Malformation. The malformation results when the posterior part of the brain is displaced into the cervical spinal canal. The Chiari II malformation may cause upper-body weakness and learning difficulties. In some individuals the Chiari II malformation may cause other symptoms and problems. These include:

  • breathing problems                                                                                       
  • spasticity
  • swallowing difficulties
  • poor fine motor coordination
  • headaches  
  • sensitivity to touch and noise
  • visual disturbances
  • an inability to maintain a steady body temperature

Treatment for this condition depends on the type and severity of symptoms. It may include surgery to lessen the pressure on the brain stem. More often, however, symptoms diminish over time or stay the same.