The Chiari Institute was developed to treat patients suffering from Chiari malformation, a rare structural condition that affects the cerebellum; syringomyelia, a chronic disease of the spinal cord; and related disorders.
The mission of The Chiari Institute is to advance our understanding of Chiari-related disorders through methodical, focused and continuous research. In recent years, the physicians at The Chiari Institute have been responsible for redefining the clinical features of Chiari malformations.
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The evaluation of patients begins with a detailed clinical questionnaire. A team of nurse practitioners supervises the data entry, scheduling of tests and physician consultations. Our secreterial department assists with housing requests.
Outpatient activities are conducted with a multidisciplinary approach. The detailed diagnostic workup includes six MRIs, C MRIs, dynamic X-rays, 3D CTs, high-definition imaging and morphometrics. These are followed by a screening evaluation by a nurse practitioner with clinical screens for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and tethered cord syndrome. The next step is an appointment with a neurologist. The diagnostic process culminates with a neurosurgical visit. The final product is a report of at least 11 pages.
The goals of the diagnostic workup are to:
- Establish the correct diagnosis.
- Educate the patient and answer their questions.
- Provide a list of management options.
- Discuss the preferred operative technique if surgery is required.
The development of a multidisciplinary approach to address the medical and surgical needs of patients combined with an active research program has elevated The Chiari Institute to the highest level of international recognition.
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The decision to treat patients surgically requires a detailed consultation between the patient and physician.
The most important function of The Chiari Institute team is to assess and analyze the patient's condition.
Surgery is not recommended to prevent problems from occurring in the future because the natural history of Chiari malformation and syringomyelia is not completely understood.
Since our inception, we have developed a patient-specific surgical procedure depending upon the underlying cause of the condition. Each step of the operation is tailored to the patient's unique anatomical and physiological findings. The reason for or against surgery depends upon the upon the potential risk versus benefits to the patient. Surgical intervention is discussed so that the patient is empowered to make an informed, personal desicion. We don't operate on MRIs; we operate on patients. The requirements for successful Chiari surgery are:
- Optimal decompression of nerve tissue.
- Reconstruction of normal-sized cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) spaces behind the cerebellum called cisterna magna.
- Restoration of normal CSF flow between the cranial and spinal compartments.
Read more about the surgeries performed at The Chiari Institute.
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