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J Neurosurg Sci. 2017 Jul 4. doi: 10.23736/S0390-5616.17.04063-2. [Epub ahead of print]

Long term outcome of surgical treatment of Chiari Malformation without syringomyelia.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland -
Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Neurosurgery, BicĂȘtre University Hospital, Le Kremlin-BicĂȘtre, France.



Surgical treatment for CM without syringomyelia is still under debate. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long term outcome of surgically treated patients for CM-I without syringomyelia.


We selected all adult patients who underwent surgery for CM-I without syringomyelia between 1993 and 2010. Only patients with long term follow-up (>5 years) were included. Clinical manifestations, radiologic features, and follow-up data were analyzed. Patient's outcome was assessed using the Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS). Patient's outcome was classified also as: "improved", "unchanged"or "worse".


Among 38 patients, 27 were females and 11 were males. Age ranged from 18 to 65 years (mean age 41 years). The average follow-up duration was 75 months (range 60-168 months). The most frequent symptoms of presentation were: headache (60%), neck pain (52.6%), postural or gait instability (47.3 %), upper limb paresthesias (44.7%). The most frequent signs of presentation were: nystagmus (44.7%), pyramidal signs (31.5 %), gait/balance impairment (23.6 %). Surgical treatment resulted in a long term success rate of 84.2% (32 patients improved at last follow-up). 31 patients (81.5%) achieved a CCOS score between 13 and 16. Headache improved in 86.9 % of patients, gait impairment in 83.3 %, paresthesias in 70% and neck pain in 65.2 %. Two patients (5.2%) were unchanged after surgery, four patients (10.5%) showed recurrence of their symptoms. There was no mortality.


Surgery is a safe and long term effective treatment for patients with CM-I without syringomyelia in the majority of patients.

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