Avatar universal

Does decompression surgery stop the symptoms of chiari malformation?

I struggle daily with a wide range of symptoms and then have random flare ups where they all attack at once full force. The doctors have offered decompression surgery, but I’m genuinely concerned it won’t do anything and will be a complete waste of time and money.
4 Responses
620923 tn?1452915648
Hi and welcome to the Chiari forum.

Sorry NO, decompression surgery does not stop the symptoms, what it does do is stops progression of the condition especially if there is an obstruction and it opens up the blockage....this can alleviate some symptoms and over time you may see more benefits.....it really depends on not only what Dr you choose to use, but what other conditions you may have in addition to Chiari....it seems it never travels alone.

I had the surgery 9 years ago, and am very happy with my results and benefits....it did take time for me to see all the benefits I did have since it is not all at once, or wasn't for me.
992677 tn?1537668903
I have no doubt whatsoever that most if not all of us here would love to tell you "Yes, the symptoms just go away after surgery". But sadly it just isn't so. My former NS explained it this way. He said that in many cases the nerve damage in the brain stem is already done. In some cases the brain has already learned from years of feeling certain sensations that they are normal so you continue to feel them.  No doubt the severity of these symptoms is directly related to exactly how compressed your brain stem was among other things. The alternative to surgery [with those who need it as not everyone does] is watching your symptoms continue to deteriorate. For me personally "would I go through it again? Absolutely with the right doctor"
I also wish I could say yes it’s the miracle we all would like but sadly it isn’t so. There are however many people who do very well with the surgery and get much relief from their symptoms. I felt ok for the first few weeks aside from the surgical pain and once they realized I was allergic to the morphine and changed the meds.

But even tho my NS knew of my EDS he opted for a bovine patch and mesh plate and I’m not sure my body liked that at all. I’ve been diagnosed with high ICP which could very well be due to that.

Currently I’m struggling to walk again and I’m scared things have gone south for me. Getting into another NS in September and a brain and c-spine MRI soon.

I would say the right dr is absolutely the way to go. And maybe you will find some relief with yours.
20843740 tn?1532359126
Before my surgery I often could not walk 10 feet without feeling migraine or dizziness, and struggled to use stairs as my balance was horrific. I was told that the surgery would not be the cure to chiari, but probably would help me go about my daily life. I was at the point where literally anything was better than suffering as much as I had, and 10 years later I can genuinely say it has really helped me. I still get loads of my old symptoms, but my balance is now better, and my co-ordination is also so much better, rather than living in a constant migraine state, I'd maybe get 3 headaches a week, which is something I can control. Hope this helps :)
Avatar universal
No, there is no absolute certainty with decompression surgery.  What I DO know is that it helped me tremendously.  I still have some symptoms from time to time after 6 years, but I don't regret decompression surgery one iota.  I agree with Selma, it really depends on who your surgeon is and whether there are other issues that go along with your CM.
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620923 tn?1452915648
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