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Neurosurg Focus. 2005 Feb 15;18(2):ECP2.

Prospective analysis of self-perceived quality of life before and after posterior fossa decompression in 112 patients with Chiari malformation with or without syringomyelia.

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Division of Neurosurgery, University Health Care, University of Missouri-Columbia, Missouri 65212, USA.



The purpose of this prospective study was to determine if there was a difference in the self-perceived quality of life (QOL) before and after surgery among patients with Chiari I malformations with or without syringomyelia. Most patients with Chiari I malformations report improvement in their QOL after decompression surgery; however, specific outcome data have not been empirically studied in this patient population.


One hundred seventy-two consecutive patients who underwent posterior fossa decompression based on neuroimaging evidence of a Chiari I malformation with or without syringomyelia were prospectively offered participation in the study. The Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) was chosen as the instrument for data collection. Completed questionnaires were returned by 112 patients. A statistically significant improvement (p < 0.0001) in SIP scores (self-reported QOL) was noted in 84% of participants after decompression surgery. Patient age, amount of tonsillar herniation, and evidence of syringomyelia before surgery did not correlate with or adversely affect outcomes. Among 16 participants who reported worsening in their QOL, anecdotal information revealed extraneous factors unrelated to the Chiari I malformation that they perceived as negatively influencing their outcome. Among the extraneous variables noted by the participants were general health status, unrelated injury, other illnesses, and significant stress.


The majority of participants who underwent posterior fossa surgery for a Chiari I malformation reported significant improvement in their QOL after surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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