Child's Nervous System

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 349–356 | Cite as

Surgical results of posterior fossa decompression for patients with Chiari I malformation

  • Ramon Navarro
  • Greg Olavarria
  • Roopa Seshadri
  • Gabriel Gonzales-Portillo
  • David G. McLone
  • Tadanori TomitaEmail author
Focus Session



An increasing number of children with Chiari I malformations are coming to the attention of neurosurgeons today, although a consensus on the surgical approach to these lesions has yet to be found.


We present a retrospective analysis of posterior fossa decompression (PFD) performed at our institution on 96 patients from 1989 to 2001. Statistical analyses based on clinical and radiographic presentation and the types of surgical procedures used formed the basis for our review.


Most of the patients with hydromyelia underwent duraplasty procedures with or without tonsillar manipulation. In contrast, most patients without hydromyelia underwent bony decompression with dural scoring and intraoperative ultrasound. PFD with bony decompression and dural scoring showed a 72% success rate, compared with 68% for duraplasty. Dural opening was not more likely to improve or arrest hydromyelia. The group subjected to duraplasty, however, had a significantly higher complication rate. Patients under the age of 8 fared better than their older counterparts.


Overall, we favor a tailored posterior fossa craniectomy with dural scoring as the initial surgical procedure in children with Chiari I malformation with or without a syrinx. This less invasive approach minimizes complications associated with dural opening and offers comparable success rates.


Chiari malformation Hydromyelia Posterior fossa decompression Surgical outcome 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramon Navarro
    • 1
  • Greg Olavarria
    • 1
  • Roopa Seshadri
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gabriel Gonzales-Portillo
    • 1
  • David G. McLone
    • 1
  • Tadanori Tomita
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric NeurosurgeryChildren’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical SchoolChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsChildren’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical SchoolChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Preventive MedicineChildren’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical SchoolChicagoUSA

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