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What does " The cerebellar tonsils are ectatic but no chiari malformation is seen" mean ?

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Practicing since : 2001
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I have DDD and in 2009 I had C5-6 and C6-7 fused and now I have had an MRI done and It showes C3-4 there is a diffuse disc bulging but no focal disc herniation. At c4-5 there is a broad left sided small C4-5 disc herniation. My question is this on the report it states that The cerbellar tonsils are ectatic but no chiari malformation is seen-what is this?
Posted Tue, 1 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 38 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

Normally cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for the sense of balance. It is present in the brain just above the spinal canal. In your case cerebellar tonsils have slightly got elongated and have entered the spinal canal upto the level of C-1. Normally this descent is congenital and is an asymptomatic finding. This is ectatic cerebellar tonsils.

Chiari malformations are structural defects in cerebellum in which the tonsils herniate XXXXXXX into the cervical canal. This defect is not present in your scan.

Overall these findings do not indicate any adverse effect on your health.

I hope my answer and recommendations are adequate and helpful. Waiting for your further follow up queries if any.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What does " The cerebellar tonsils are ectatic but no chiari malformation is seen" mean ? 20 minutes later
What should I look for with this findings and what should I expect with the problems in C3-4 and C4-5 in order to handle it because I have been experiecing headaches since Saturday now 2 weeks after my MRI.
Should I expect surgery?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 16 minutes later

Thanks for writing again.

With this disc herniation and disc bulging you can expect tingling and numbness in hands and arms, pain in the neck and arms specially while extending arms over your head. There may be some weakness in the hand muscles.

Headache is not likely to be related to this.

If you do not have any symptoms then you do not need any surgery.

Hope I have answered your query.

Wish you good health.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What does " The cerebellar tonsils are ectatic but no chiari malformation is seen" mean ? 2 hours later
What about swelling in and around my neck:

I have been swelling around my neck and having severe headaches for the past several days now.
Is this from fluid in and around my disc or from the spinal cord?
When it swells my neck gets tight and very hot like I have fever there-What is that?
I have been having tingle and burning sensation on and going down my right arm and my right hand all over hurts badly not to mention the left upper leg/thigh area gets to hurting like these too.
Should I expect another surgery from this?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 9 hours later
Hello again,

Thanks for the query.

Definitely the swelling and pain in your neck is due to the Disc Bulging and Herniation.

The symptoms of pain, redness, hot local temperature in the swelling indicates Acute Inflammation. Try keeping Ice Packs Locally, It really helps in reducing all these symptoms.

You can also take pain killers and neurotropic medicines.

If the symptoms are not relieved, then epidural steroid injections and physiotherapy might help.

you can also use a Cervical Collar.

Surgery is considered as the last option when there is no relief with medicines.

You can discuss the treatment options with your Neurologist.

Hope this helps.

Thank you.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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