This is my before and after picture from decompression surgery, 1-year post op.

I have a genetic malformation: Arnold Chiari 1 Malformation. I had decompression surgery (C1 Laminectomy and Duraplasty) in March 2013. Basically, I had part of the back of my skull and my first vertebra removed to make room for my cerebellum, and then I had a patch put over the new hole (pig heart patch) to make sure my brain didn’t fall out! 

My main symptom was very visible: the large white bubble in my brain stem is called a syrinx. Having this bubble is a condition called syringomyelia. As you can see, I am almost 100% rid of my syrinx. This is incredibly good news for me, because it means all of my symptoms that went along with Chiari are gone. This included vertigo, pressure headaches, light sensitivity, and numbness in my extremities. 

My “after” MRI also shows a large white area near my cerebellum. My neurosurgeon informed me today that my body is overcompensating for the new room it has in the back of my head, and is letting my cerebellum float freely (and I imagine, happily). It is not concerning, in fact it is a very good thing. The “before” image plainly shows a tightly packed cerebellum leaking into my brain stem.

 I am in awe of my neurosurgeon’s artistry with my head. There may be more to explain. Feel free to ask me any questions.

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  1. dailylifewithchronicillness reblogged this from chiari1 and added:
    it looks beautiful, congrats!!! :)
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  7. jlrobinson reblogged this from chiari1 and added:
    hey guys! this is me. I’m incredibly proud of the things I’ve overcome in the past year. Brain surgery was and has been...
  8. chiari1 posted this