Suboccipital Craniectomy for Chiari Malformation
When a patient experiences symptoms such as headaches, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness and numbness in the arms or legs due to Chiari malformation, surgery may be necessary. A suboccipital craniectomy is an effective procedure that can make more room for the cerebellum and relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
A suboccipital craniectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the scalp at the back of the head. A specialized drill is used to create a hole in the skull bone and a portion of bone is removed. In some cases, this may provide enough extra room to relieve symptoms. However, for other patients, the dura (the covering of the brain and spinal cord) will be opened and enlarged using a graft.