Chiari malformations are a group of craniovertebral junction anomalies characterized by the herniation of cerebellar tonsils below the foramen magnum, often accompanied by brainstem descent. The existing classification systems for Chiari malformations have expanded from the original four categories to nine, leading to debates about the need for a more descriptive and etiopathogenic terminology. This review aims to examine the various classification approaches employed and proposes a simplified scheme to differentiate between different types of tonsillar herniations. Furthermore, it explores the most appropriate terminology for acquired herniation of cerebellar tonsils and other secondary Chiari-like malformations. Recent advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have revealed a higher prevalence and incidence of Chiari malformation Type 1 (CM1) and identified similar cerebellar herniations in individuals unrelated to the classic phenotypes described by Chiari. As we reassess the existing classifications, it becomes crucial to establish a terminology that accurately reflects the diverse presentations and underlying causes of these conditions. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion by offering insights into the evolving understanding of Chiari malformations and proposing a simplified classification and terminology system to enhance diagnosis and management.
Arnold-Chiari malformation; Classification; Rare diseases
Sahuquillo J, Moncho D, Ferré A, López-Bermeo D, Sahuquillo-Muxi A, Poca MA. A Critical Update of the Classification of Chiari and Chiari-like Malformations. J Clin Med. 2023 Jul 11;12(14):4626.
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