The occipital condyle (OC) screw is an alternative technique for occipitocervical fixation that is especially suitable for revision surgery in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CMI). This study aimed to investigate the feasibility and safety of this technique in patients with CMI.
Methods The CT data of 73 CMI patients and 73 healthy controls were retrospectively analyzed. The dimensions of OCs, including length, width, height, sagittal angle, and screw length, were measured in the axial, sagittal, and coronal planes using CT images. The OC available height was measured in the reconstructed oblique parasagittal plane of the trajectory.
Results The mean length, width, and height of OCs in CMI patients were 17.79 2.31 mm, 11.20 1.28 mm, and 5.87 1.29 mm, respectively. All OC dimensions were significantly smaller in CMI patients compared with healthy controls. The mean screw length and sagittal angle were 19.13 1.97 mm and 33.94 5.43 , respectively. The mean OC available height was 6.36 1.59 mm. According to criteria based on OC available height and width, 52.1% (76/146) of OCs in CMI patients could safely accommodate a 3.5-mm-diameter screw.
Conclusions The OC screw is feasible in approximately half of OCs in CMI patients. Careful morphometric analyses and personalized surgical plans are necessary for the success of this operation in CMI patients.
In light of the controversies regarding the surgical treatment of adult Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia, a retrospective study was conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of tonsillectomy followed by modified reconstruction of the cisterna magna with or without craniectomy.
Methods Between 2008 and 2017, 78 adult CM-I patients (36 males and 42 females, mean age 40.6 years old) with syringomyelia were treated with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) with tonsillectomy and modified reconstruction of the cisterna magna. Patients were divided into two study groups: group A (n = 40) underwent cranioplasty with replacement of the bone flap; group B (n=38) underwent suboccipital craniectomy. Neurological outcomes were evaluated by traditional physician assessment (improved, unchanged, and worsened) and the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS). Syringomyelia outcomes were assessed radiologically.
Results The procedure was successfully performed in all patients, and restoration of normal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow was confirmed by intraoperative ultrasonography. The median postoperative follow-up was 20.3 months (range 18– 60 months). Clinical improvement was evident in 66 (84.6%) patients, with no significant differences between the two groups (85.0% vs. 84.2%, P = 0.897). According to the CCOS, 36 patients (90.0%) in group A were labeled as “good” outcome, compared with that of 34 (86.8%) in group B (P = 0.734). Improvement of syringomyelia was also comparable between the groups, which was observed in 35 (87.5%) vs. 33 (86.8%) patients (P = 0.887). The postoperative overall (7.5% vs. 23.7%, P = 0.048) and CSF-related (2.5% vs. 18.4%, P = 0.027) complication rates were significantly lower in group A than group B.
Conclusions Tonsillectomy with modified reconstruction of the cisterna magna without craniectomy seems to be a safe and effective surgical option to treat adult CM-I patients with syringomyelia, though future well-powered prospective randomized studies are warranted to validate these findings.
Previous studies have indicated an association of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) and a small posterior fossa. Most of these studies have been limited by 2D quantitative methods, and more recent studies utilizing 3D methodologies are time-intensive with manual segmentation. The authors sought to develop a more automated tool to calculate the 3D posterior fossa volume, and correlate its changes after decompression with surgical outcomes.
METHODS A semiautomated segmentation program was developed, and used to compare the pre- and postoperative volumes of the posterior cranial fossa (PCF) and the CSF spaces (cisterna magna, prepontine cistern, and fourth ventricle) in a cohort of pediatric patients with CM-I. Volume changes were correlated with postoperative symptomatic improvements in headache, syrinx, tonsillar descent, cervicomedullary kinking, and overall surgical success.
RESULTS Forty-two pediatric patients were included in this study. The mean percentage increase in PCF volume was significantly greater in patients who showed clinical improvement versus no improvement in headache (5.89% vs 1.54%, p < 0.05) and tonsillar descent (6.52% vs 2.57%, p < 0.05). Overall clinical success was associated with a larger postoperative PCF volume increase (p < 0.05). These clinical improvements were also significantly associated with a larger increase in the volume of the cisterna magna (p < 0.05). The increase in the caudal portion of the posterior fossa volume was also larger in patients who showed improvement in syrinx (6.63% vs 2.58%, p < 0.05) and cervicomedullary kinking (9.24% vs 3.79%, p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS A greater increase in the postoperative PCF volume, and specifically an increase in the cisterna magna volume, was associated with a greater likelihood of clinical improvements in headache and tonsillar descent in patients with CM-I. Larger increases in the caudal portion of the posterior fossa volume were also associated with a greater likelihood of improvement in syrinx and cervicomedullary kinking.
Patients with Chiari malformation type 1 (CMI) often present with elevated pulsatile and static intracranial pressure (ICP). The preferred treatment of CMI, foramen magnum decompression (FMD), is assumed to normalise ICP and craniospinal pressure dissociation. In order to further explore the mechanisms behind FMD, the present study investigated whether or not pulsatile and static ICP normalises immediately after FMD.
Method The study included CMI patients undergoing FMD with perioperative ICP monitoring as a part of clinical management. The pulsatile and static ICP scores were retrieved from the department’s ICP database, and the clinical and radiological data from the patient records.
Results Eleven patients were included in the study. During the first 3 days following FMD, mixed model analysis revealed no significant time-dependent differences of preoperatively elevated either pulsatile (mean wave amplitude,MWA; p=0.85) and/or static (mean ICP, p = 0.90) ICP. Percentage of mean ICP >15 mmHg increased during days 2 and 3 after FMD. Two patients from the present series had to receive ventriculoperitoneal shunt after FMD in the early postoperative period.
Conclusions The present observations suggest that anatomical restoration of cerebrospinal fluid pathways by FMD does not lead to immediate normalisation of preoperatively altered pulsatile and static ICP in patients withCMI. This finding may explain persistent symptoms during the early period after FMD.
Suboccipital cough-induced headaches are considered a hallmark symptom of Chiari malformation type I (CMI). However, non–Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches and headaches in other locations are also common in CMI. The diagnostic significance and the underlying factors associated with these different headaches types are not well understood.
OBJECTIVE: To compare cranial morphology and hydrodynamics in 3 types of headaches in CMI to better understand the pathophysiological basis for the different headache characteristics.
METHODS: Twenty-two cranial physiological and morphological measures were obtained with specialized magnetic resonance imaging scans from 63 symptomatic pretreated CMI patients, 40 with suboccipital headaches induced by Valsalva maneuvers (34 women; age, 36 6 10 years), 15 with non–Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches (10 women; age, 33 6 9 years), 8 with nonsuboccipital non–Valsalva-induced headaches (8 women; age, 39 6 13 years), and 37 control subjects (24 women; age, 36 6 12 years). Group differences were identified with the use of the 2-tailed Student t test. RESULTS: Posterior cranial fossa markers of CMI were similar among the 3 headache subtypes. However, the Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches cohort demonstrated a significantly lower intracranial compliance index than the non–Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches cohort (7.5 6 3.4 vs 10.9 6 4.9), lower intracranial volume change during the cardiac cycle (0.48 6 0.19 vs 0.61 6 0.16 mL), and higher magnetic resonance imaging–derived intracranial pressure (11.1 6 4.3 vs 7.7 6 2.8 mm Hg; P = .02). The Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches cohort had smaller intracranial and lateral ventricular volumes compared with the healthy cohort. The non–Valsalva-related suboccipital headaches cohort had reduced venous drainage through the jugular veins.
CONCLUSION: Valsalva-induced worsening of occipital headaches appears to be related to a small intracranial volume rather than the smaller posterior cranial fossa. This explains the reduced intracranial compliance and corresponding higher pressure measured in CMI patients with headaches affected by Valsalva maneuvers.
Chiari malformation type I (CMI) is characterized by deformed hindbrain. This study aimed to quantitatively evaluate the alterations in position of hindbrain after Posterior fossa decompression (PFD), and to identify the factors associated with syrinx resolution in pediatric patients with CMI.
Methods Eighty-seven patients, aged from 5 to 18 years, who underwent PFD for CMI between September 2006 and September 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. On midsagittal MR images, the position of medulla oblongata and cerebellum was quantitatively evaluated preoperatively and at follow-up. The maximal syrinx/cord (S/C) ratio and syrinx length were also measured. Significant improvement of syrinx was defined as a more than 20 % decrease in maximal S/C ratio or length on follow-up MRI.
Results Neurological deficits were found in 51 of the 87 patients preoperatively and 37 (72.4 %) of them obtained improvement of their symptoms at the last visit. Overall, upward shifting of the tip of cerebellar tonsil was observed in 66 (75.9 %) patients at the last follow-up. Moreover, the mean longitudinal distance of the tip of cerebellar tonsil changed from 16.47 ± 5.00 to 13.89 ± 4.38 mm (P<0.001) at final follow-up. Significant syrinx resolution was noticed in 79 (90.8 %) cases. Pointed cerebellar tonsils were found in 85 (97.7 %) of our patients preoperatively and 78 (91.8 %) of them acquired round cerebellar tonsils after PFD. The improvement of maximal S/C ratio was significantly correlated with upward shifting of the tip of cerebellar tonsil (P = 0.023).
Conclusions Following PFD for CMI, position and morphology of the cerebellar tonsil could revert to normal in most of the pediatric patients, and the upward shifting of the tip of cerebellar tonsil is significantly correlated with syrinx improvement. From this study, PFD without shunting may be effective for syrinx secondary to CMI in pediatric population.
In this paper the authors describe an association between increased body mass index (BMI) and Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in adults, as well as its relationship to the development of syringomyelia.
Methods. In the period between January 2004 and December 2011, the senior author reviewed the data for all CM-I patients with or without syringomyelia and neurological deficit. Analyzed factors included clinical status (headaches and neurological signs), radiological characteristics of syringomyelia (diameter and vertical extent of syrinx), BMI, and relationship of age to BMI, syrinx diameter, and vertical extent of syrinx.
Results. Sixty consecutive adults had CM-I, 26 of whom also had syringomyelia. The mean BMI among all patients was 30.35 ± 7.65, which is Class I obesity (WHO), and was similar among patients with or without syringomyelia. Extension of the vertical syrinx was greater in overweight patients (p = 0.027) than in those with a normal body weight. Evidence of de novo syrinx formation was found in 2 patients who gained an average BMI of 10.8 points. After repeated decompression and no change in holocord syrinx width or vertical extent, a reduction in the syrinx was seen after BMI decreased 11.7 points in one individual. No correlation was found between patient age and BMI, age and vertical extension of the syrinx, and age and diameter of the syrinx.
Conclusions. An association between increased BMI and CM-I in adults was recognized. Gaining weight may influence the de novo creation of a syrinx in adults who previously had minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic CM-I, and reducing weight can improve a syrinx after unsuccessful surgical decompression. Therefore, a reduction in body weight should be recommended for all overweight and obese patients with CM-I.
Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is characterized by hindbrain deformity. We investigated the effects of craniocervical decompression surgery on the anatomical features of hindbrain deformity with a prospective MRI study of patients with CM-I.
Methods. A prospective longitudinal study was conducted in 48 patients with CM-I (39 with syringomyelia) treated with craniocervical decompression. Clinical examinations and cervical MRI were performed before surgery and 1 week, 3–6 months, and annually after surgery. Hindbrain deformity was defined by tonsillar ectopia, pointed cerebellar tonsils, and/or cervicomedullary protuberance. The length of the clivus, basiocciput (sphenooccipital synchondrosis to basion), supraocciput (internal occipital protuberance to opisthion), and anteroposterior (AP) width of CSF pathways at the foramen magnum were measured and compared with those from 18 healthy volunteers (control group).
Results. Before surgery, the patients’ posterior fossa bones were short and their CSF pathways were narrow. All patients had tonsillar ectopia (mean [± SD] 12.3 ± 5.1 mm; normal 0.3 ± 1.0). The majority of patients had pointed tonsils and more than two-thirds exhibited a cervicomedullary protuberance. Clivus and basiocciput lengths were significantly shorter than the values obtained in the control group. However, the supraocciput length did not differ significantly from control measurements. The mean bulbopontine sulcus distance superior to the basion was 9.5 ± 2.6 mm (vs 13.6 ± 2.8 mm in controls; p < 0.0001). The AP widths of the CSF pathways at the level of the foramen magnum were significantly narrowed. After surgery, CSF pathways significantly expanded both ventrally and dorsally. By 3–6 months after surgery, pointed tonsils became round, cervicomedullary protuberance disappeared, and tonsillar ectopia diminished by 51% (to 6.0 ± 3.3 mm; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions. The cerebellar tonsils and brainstem assumed a normal appearance within 6 months after craniocervical decompression. These findings support the concept that the CM-I is not a congenital malformation of the neural elements but rather an acquired malformation that arises from pulsatile impaction of the cerebellar tonsils into the foramen magnum.
The aim of this paper was to measure the posterior fossa (PF) volume increase resulting from a givensized occipital craniectomy in Chiari malformation Type I surgery and to analyze its correlations with the PF size and the treatment response, with the perspective of tailoring the amount of bone removal to the patient-specific PF dimensions.
Methods. Between January 2005 and June 2006, 11 adult patients with symptomatic Chiari malformation Type I underwent a standardized PF decompression. A prospective evaluation with clinical examination, functional grading, and MR imaging measurement protocols was performed pre- and postoperatively. A method is reported for the measurement of PF volume (PFV) after surgery. The degree of PFV increase was compared with the preoperative size of the PF and with the clinical outcome.
Results. All 11 patients improved postoperatively, with complete and partial recovery in 4 and 7 patients, respectively. No postoperative complication occurred after a mean follow-up period of 45 months. The mean relative increase in PFV accounted for 10% (range 1.5%–19.7%) of the initial PFV; the increase was greater in cases in which the PF was small (r = -0.52, p = 0.09) and the basiocciput was short (r = -0.37, p = 0.2). A statistically significant positive correlation was found between the degree of PFV increase and the treatment response (p = 0.014); complete recovery was observed with a PFV increase of 15% and partial recovery with an increase of 7%.
Conclusions. The treatment response is significantly influenced by the degree of PFV increase, which is dependent on the size of the PF and the extent of the craniectomy, suggesting that the optimal patient-specific PFV increase could be predicted on the basis of preoperative MR imaging and enhancing the perspective that the craniectomy size could be tailored to the individual PFV.
The natural history of untreated Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is poorly defined. The object of this study was to investigate outcomes in pediatric patients with CM-I who were followed up without surgical intervention.
Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed 124 cases involving patients with CM-I who presented between July 1999 and July 2008 and were followed up without surgery. The patients ranged in age from 0.9 to 19.8 years (mean 7 years). The duration of follow-up ranged from 1.0 to 8.6 years (mean 2.83 years). Imaging findings, symptoms, and findings on neurological examinations were noted at presentation and for the duration of follow-up.
Results. The mean extent of tonsillar herniation at presentation was 8.35 mm (range 5–22 mm). Seven patients had a syrinx at presentation. The syrinx size did not change in these patients on follow-up imaging studies. No new syrinxes developed in the remaining patients who underwent subsequent imaging. The total number of patients with presenting symptoms was 81. Of those 81 patients, 67 demonstrated symptoms that were not typical of CM-I. Of the 14 patients with symptoms attributed to CM-I, 9 had symptoms that were not severe or frequent enough to warrant surgery, and surgery was recommended in the remaining 5 patients. Chiari malformation Type I was also diagnosed in 43 asymptomatic patients who had imaging studies performed for various reasons. No new neurological deficits were noted in any patient for the duration of follow-up.
Conclusions. The majority of patients with CM-I who are followed up without surgery do not progress clinically or radiologically. Longer follow-up of this cohort will be required to determine if symptoms or new neurological findings develop over the course of many years.
The optimal surgical management of Chiari malformation (CM) is evolving. Evidence continues to accrue that supports decompression without duraplasty as an effective treatment to achieve symptomatic relief and anatomical decompression. The risks and benefits of this less invasive operation need to be weighed against decompression with duraplasty.
Methods. The authors performed a retrospective review of all CM decompressions from 2003 to 2007. All operations were performed by a single surgeon at a single institution. Data were analyzed for outcome, postoperative morbidity, and recurrence.
Results. Of 121 unique patients, 56 underwent posterior fossa decompressions without duraplasty (PFD) and 64 patients underwent posterior fossa decompressions with duraplasty (PFDD). Of the 56 PFD patients, 7 (12.5%) needed a subsequent PFDD for symptomatic recurrence. Of the 64 patients who underwent a PFDD, 2 (3.1%) needed a repeated PFDD for symptomatic recurrence. Patients treated with PFDD had an average operative time of 201 minutes in contrast to 127 minutes for those who underwent PFD (p = 0.0001). Patients treated with PFDD had average hospital stays of 4.0 days, whereas that for patients treated with PFD was 2.7 days (p = 0.0001). While in the hospital, patients treated with PFDD used low-grade narcotics, intravenous narcotics, muscle relaxants, and antiemetic medications at statistically significant differing rates.
Conclusions. While PFD was associated with a higher rate of recurrent symptoms requiring repeated decompression, this may be justified by the significantly lower morbidity rate. Clearer delineation of the trade-off between morbidity and recurrence may be used to help patients and their families make decisions regarding care.
The chronic tonsillar herniation defining Chiari malformation Type I (CMI) is thought to result from overcrowding of a normally developing hindbrain within a congenitally small posterior cranial fossa (PCF) due to occipital hypoplasia. The goals in the present study were to authenticate the cranioencephalic disproportion in a group of patients with CMI and to discuss new developmental aspects according to which part of the occipital bone was underdeveloped.
Methods. The authors retrospectively examined a group of 17 patients with CMI. Measurements of osteotento- rial and neural structures of the PCF were made on MR images of the brain. The results were compared with findings in 30 healthy controls by using the Mann-Whitney U-test.
Results. Dimensions of the neural structures did not differ between the 2 groups of patients. The mean length of the basiocciput was significantly shorter in the CMI group (19.4 mm) compared with the control group (25.7 mm; p = 0.0003). The mean diameter of the foramen magnum was larger in the CMI group, but this difference was not statistically significant. The dimensions of the supraocciput and the mean angle of the cerebellar tentorium were identical in the 2 groups.
Conclusions. Data in this study support the idea that occipital hypoplasia is the main cause of overcrowding within the PCF. Basioccipital shortness is a cardinal feature of the resultant shallow PCF and could proceed from a congenital disorder of the cephalic mesoderm of the parachordal plate or occur later in the infancy because of prema- ture stenosis of the sphenooccipital synchondrosis
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