Abigail Carney
Chiari Malformation (CM) and Tethered Cord (TC): A Retrospective MRI Study

SchoolMidview High School


MentorStephen Dombrowski, PhD


Chiari Malformation (CM) and Tethered Cord (TC): A Retrospective MRI Study
CM may result either from forces from above, such as a small posterior fossa, or forces from below, such as the tethering of the spinal cord. Patients affected by CM and TC will have a more severe CM than those solely affected by CM.
This was a retrospective study of patients who underwent MRIs at Cleveland Clinic from 1999 to 2009. A total of 79 patients were divided into four groups: CM, 22; TC, 19; CM and TC, 22; and control, 16. Linear measurements of head and spine MRIs were gathered and the area of the posterior fossa was calculated to determine cerebellar position, pons-medullar junction position, area of posterior fossa and spinal cord terminal.
Patients affected by combined CM and TC have both an overall increased herniation of the cerebellum through the foramen magnum and an overall decreased posterior fossa area in comparison to patients affected by only CM. This demonstrates that TC increases the severity of CM. Also, our results suggest a CM-TC comorbidity. Patients diagnosed with either disorder should be monitored for early signs of the other.


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