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Neurosurg Rev. 2010 Jul;33(3):297-303; discussion 303-4. doi: 10.1007/s10143-010-0260-y. Epub 2010 May 1.

Clinical and radiological outcome of craniocervical osteo-dural decompression for Chiari I-associated syringomyelia.

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  • 1Division of Neurosurgery, Civil Hospital, Alessandria, Italy.


The aim of this study was to analyze the long-term clinical and radiological outcomes of craniocervical decompression for patients affected by Chiari I-related syringomyelia. We performed a retrospective analysis of a group of patients affected by Chiari I-associated syringomyelia treated by craniocervical decompression (CCD). Surgical and technical aspects and preoperative factors predicting outcome were discussed. A total of 36 patients were reviewed. There were 17 men and 19 women (female/male ratio 1.11), and the mean age was 40.4 (range 18-68). The most important preoperative symptoms were related to myelopathy (pain, weakness, atrophy, spasticity, sensory loss, and dysesthesias). Most syrinxes were in the cervico-thoracic region (61.1%), and the majority of patients had tonsillar descent between the foramen magnum and C1. All patients underwent a craniectomy less than 3 cm in diameter followed by a duroplasty with dura substitute. No arachnoid manipulation was necessary. Three patients (8.1%) experienced cerebrospinal fluid leaks that resolved without complications. At a mean follow up of 40 months (range 16-72) 80.5% of patients exhibited improvement over their preoperative neurological examination while 11.1% stabilized. The syrinx shrank in 80.5% of patients. Chi-square test showed that preoperative syrinx extension and degree of tonsillar descent did not correlate with clinical and neuroradiological postoperative evolution. Treating syringomyelia associated in Chiari I malformation with CCD leads to a large percentage of patients with satisfying results and no irreversible complications.

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