Delayed resolution of syrinx after posterior fossa decompression without dural opening in children with Chiari malformation Type i

Benjamin C. Kennedy, Taylor B. Nelp, Kathleen M. Kelly, Michelle Q. Phan, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Neil A. Feldstein, Richard C.E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Object Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is associated with a syrinx in 25%-85% of patients. Although posterior fossa decompression (PFD) without dural opening is an accepted treatment option for children with symptomatic CM-I, many surgeons prefer to open the dura if a syrinx exists. The purpose of this study was to investigate the frequency and timing of syrinx resolution in children undergoing PFD without dural opening for CM-I. Methods A retrospective review of 68 consecutive pediatric patients with CM-I and syringomyelia who underwent PFD without dural opening was conducted. Patient demographics, presenting symptoms and signs, radiographic findings, and intraoperative ultrasound and neuromonitoring findings were studied as well as the patients' clinical and radiographic follow-up. Results During the mean radiographic follow-up period of 32 months, 70% of the syringes improved. Syrinx improvement occurred at a mean of 31 months postoperatively. All patients experienced symptom improvement within the 1st year, despite only 26% of patients showing radiographic improvement during that period. Patients presenting with sensory symptoms or motor weakness had a higher likelihood of having radiographic syrinx improvement postoperatively. Conclusions In children with CM-I and a syrinx undergoing PFD without dural opening, syrinx resolution occurs in approximately 70% of patients. Radiographic improvement of the syrinx is delayed, but this does not correlate temporally with symptom improvement. Sensory symptoms or motor weakness on presentation are associated with syrinx resolution after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-606
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chiari
  • Nondural opening
  • Outcomes
  • Suboccipital decompression
  • Syringomyelia
  • Syrinx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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