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Low Lying Cerebellar Tonsils?
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Low Lying Cerebellar Tonsils?

Hey guys,
  I went and got a copy of all my labs and MRI reports today.  When I was reading over the MRI report it says I have low lying cerebellar tonsils or Cerebellar ectopia.  My neuro didn't even mention this to me!  What does this mean?  Should I be concerned about this?  I looked it up on the internet and talked about something called Chiari?  Does anyone know anything about this?  

Thanks!
  
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373367_tn?1246405635
I am sure you have already looked this up, but here is a list of symptoms from chiari malformation.

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/detail_chiari.htm#134603087

What are the symptoms of a Chiari malformation?

"Many persons with a Type I CM do not have symptoms and may not know they have the condition. Patients with other CM types may complain of neck pain, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Hand coordination and fine motor skills may be affected. Symptoms may change for some patients, depending on the buildup of CSF and resulting pressure on the tissues and nerves. Adolescents and adults who have CM but no symptoms initially may, later in life, develop signs of the disorder. Infants may have symptoms from any type of CM and may have difficulty swallowing, irritability when being fed, excessive drooling, a weak cry, gagging or vomiting, arm weakness, a stiff neck, breathing problems, developmental delays, and an inability to gain weight."

I know I watched a Mystery Diagnosis about a girl with this and it took her forever to get diagnosed.  She had really bad headaches.  I would definitely ask your new doctor about it and if it means that you could have Chiari malformation.
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237053_tn?1258832026
This is very interesting.  I have several of those symptoms, however I can't figure out why my neuro didn't mention this to me?  I will definately ask though at my next appt.

Thanks for the info!
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Avatar_f_tn
this is the second time i've heard of someone with lyme developing this. the neuro may still be trying to piece it together as with the advent of MRI testing, the diagnosis of CM is becoming more common -- even among those w/o symptoms.

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Avatar_f_tn
My neuro didn't mention this either.  I found out about it 15 months after the MRI when I got my records. I have Chiari 1 malformation.  I didn't have one on my first MRI when I got sick.  I developed it during the six months time that I was the worst.  My theory is that I had some swelling or inflammation in my brain.  There is not much room for the brain to expand so the only place it can go is downward through the base of the skull, into the c spine area.  I also developed a meningioma during this six month period  as well.  I don't have any proof to back up my theory but I really think this is what happened.
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237053_tn?1258832026
That is very interesting.  I didn't have it on my first MRI either two years ago at the onset of symptoms.  I think I've read that it can be caused from swelling in the brain.  Your theory makes sense to me.  And can't lyme cause swelling of the brain?  Can they treat Chiari?  Will it get worse?   I don't think mine is bad now, but am concerned that it will get worse.

Hmmmm.....  
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Avatar_f_tn
It is treatable with a major surgery.  However, I was told that mine was not causing any of my symptoms and it was nothing to worry about.  He said it is considered a "normal" finding in a certain percentage of the population.  I think he said 20%.  He said the Chiari 2 and 3 are the ones that need surgery.  Since yours are just low-lying and not actually Chiari it is probably nothing to worry about but you could ask the doctor.

I have read otherwise regarding the symptoms.  I read any degree can cause a myriad of symptoms.

Another interesting note, when I had a spinal tap (didn't know about the chiari at the time) he had a very difficult time getting spinal fluid as my spinal pressure was very low.  With Chiari there is obstruction of CSF flow so I think this is why my pressure was so low.  Again, just my theory regarding my own situation.

Lyme can cause brain swelling.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was reading that you should not have spinal tap with chiari unless really necessary. Don't know why.

Also, google revealed a report that chiari presents fairly often with folks with fibromyalgia...interesting huh?

Maybe if there's a less invasive way to treat chiari, they could cure the folks with chiari - induced FM symptoms...

Just a thought.
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Avatar_n_tn
If you have a Chiari I malformation greater than 5mm it is very often considered for surgery. Even if you have a malformation less than that, and it is symptomatic, you can still be considered a candidate for surgery. I have a 7MM Chiari I Malformation. Have you visited/looked at the site for the Wisconsin Chiari Institute? It seems to offer some pretty good treatment.
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Avatar_f_tn
Not sure if I have looked at that site or not but have looked at others.  Chiari is some serious surgery.  I would not have it done unless I was completely and totally incapacitated.  The risks are just too high.  I was told by more than 1 neuro that it was an incidental finding and that it was not the cause of my problems.  My tonsils were 5mm when last checked in 2006 or 2007.
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