Chiari decompression is a common neurosurgical procedure. Chiari malformations present with a number of symptoms including Valsalva-induced headaches, swallowing dysfunction, and sleep apnea. Chiari malformations can also cause syringomyelia and syringobulbia. Surgical procedures used for the treatment of Chiari malformation include bone-only decompression (posterior fossa craniectomy +/- cervical laminectomy), craniectomy/laminectomy with duraplasty, and craniectomy/laminectomy/duraplasty with shrinkage or resection of the cerebellar tonsils. The procedure used depends on the specifics of the patient’s condition and the preference of the surgeon.
The patient presented here had undergone a prior Chiari decompression at the age of 20 months. This was bone-only with posterior fossa craniectomy and C1-2 laminectomy. The dura was not opened due to the presence of a venous lake. He initially had improvement in his symptoms. However, his headaches and snoring recurred, balance worsened, and dysphagia never improved. Therefore, a repeat Chiari decompression at the age of 28 months was performed as presented here.