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Gabe Haller, Brooke Sadler, Timothy Kuensting, Nivan Lakshman, Jacob K. Greenberg, Jennifer M. Strahle, Tae Sung Park, Matthew B. Dobbs, Christina A. Gurnett, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Chiari I malformation (CM-I) has traditionally been defined by measuring the position of the cerebellar tonsils relative to the foramen magnum. The relationships of tonsillar position to clinical presentation, syringomyelia, scoliosis, and the use of posterior fossa decompression (PFD) surgery have been studied extensively and yielded inconsistent results. Obex position has been proposed as a useful adjunctive descriptor for CM-I and may be associated with clinical disease severity.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed of 442 CM-I patients with MRI who presented for clinical evaluation between 2003 and 2018. Clinical and radiological variables were measured for all patients, including presence/location of headaches, Chiari Severity Index (CSI) grade, tonsil position, obex position, clival canal angle, pB-C2 distance, occipitalization of the atlas, basilar invagination, syringomyelia, syrinx diameter, scoliosis, and use of PFD. Radiological measurements were then used to predict clinical characteristics using regression and survival analyses, with performing PFD, the presence of a syrinx, and scoliosis as outcome variables.

RESULTS

Among the radiological measurements, tonsil position, obex position, and syringomyelia were each independently associated with use of PFD. Together, obex position, tonsil position, and syringomyelia (area under the curve [AUC] 89%) or obex position and tonsil position (AUC 85.4%) were more strongly associated with use of PFD than tonsil position alone (AUC 76%) (Pdiff = 3.4 × 10−6 and 6 × 10−4, respectively) but were only slightly more associated than obex position alone (AUC 82%) (Pdiff = 0.01 and 0.18, respectively). Additionally, obex position was significantly associated with occipital headaches, CSI grade, syringomyelia, and scoliosis, independent of tonsil position. Tonsil position was associated with each of these traits when analyzed alone but did not remain significantly associated with use of PFD when included in multivariate analyses with obex position.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with tonsil position alone, obex position is more strongly associated with symptomatic CM-I, as measured by presence of a syrinx, scoliosis, or use of PFD surgery. These results support the role of obex position as a useful radiological measurement to inform the evaluation and potentially the management of CM-I.

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Brooke Sadler, Alex Skidmore, Jordan Gewirtz, Richard C. E. Anderson, Gabe Haller, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Christine Averill, Lissa C. Baird, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin S. Bierbrauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, Andrew H. Jea, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, Timothy B. Mapstone, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael Muhlbauer, W. Jerry Oakes, Greg Olavarria, Brent R. O’Neill, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Jodi Smith, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Gerald F. Tuite, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, David D. Limbrick Jr., and Jennifer M. Strahle

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is common in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I)–associated syringomyelia. While it is known that treatment with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) may reduce the progression of scoliosis, it is unknown if decompression with duraplasty is superior to extradural decompression.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of 1257 pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for patients with scoliosis who underwent PFD with or without duraplasty.

RESULTS

In total, 422 patients who underwent PFD had a clinical diagnosis of scoliosis. Of these patients, 346 underwent duraplasty, 51 received extradural decompression alone, and 25 were excluded because no data were available on the type of PFD. The mean clinical follow-up was 2.6 years. Overall, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of fusion or proportion of patients with curve progression between those with and those without a duraplasty. However, after controlling for age, sex, preoperative curve magnitude, syrinx length, syrinx width, and holocord syrinx, extradural decompression was associated with curve progression > 10°, but not increased occurrence of fusion. Older age at PFD and larger preoperative curve magnitude were independently associated with subsequent occurrence of fusion. Greater syrinx reduction after PFD of either type was associated with decreased occurrence of fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis undergoing PFD, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of surgical correction of scoliosis between those receiving a duraplasty and those with an extradural decompression. However, after controlling for preoperative factors including age, syrinx characteristics, and curve magnitude, patients treated with duraplasty were less likely to have curve progression than patients treated with extradural decompression. Further study is needed to evaluate the role of duraplasty in curve stabilization after PFD.

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Brooke Sadler, Alex Skidmore, Jordan Gewirtz, Richard C. E. Anderson, Gabe Haller, Laurie L. Ackerman, P. David Adelson, Raheel Ahmed, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Christine Averill, Lissa C. Baird, David F. Bauer, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Karin S. Bierbrauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Brian J. Dlouhy, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Herbert E. Fuchs, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, Andrew H. Jea, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus Khan, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, Timothy B. Mapstone, J. Gordon McComb, Sean D. McEvoy, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Michael Muhlbauer, W. Jerry Oakes, Greg Olavarria, Brent R. O’Neill, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Chevis N. Shannon, Jodi Smith, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Gerald F. Tuite, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Tae Sung Park, David D. Limbrick Jr., and Jennifer M. Strahle

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is common in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I)–associated syringomyelia. While it is known that treatment with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) may reduce the progression of scoliosis, it is unknown if decompression with duraplasty is superior to extradural decompression.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of 1257 pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for patients with scoliosis who underwent PFD with or without duraplasty.

RESULTS

In total, 422 patients who underwent PFD had a clinical diagnosis of scoliosis. Of these patients, 346 underwent duraplasty, 51 received extradural decompression alone, and 25 were excluded because no data were available on the type of PFD. The mean clinical follow-up was 2.6 years. Overall, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of fusion or proportion of patients with curve progression between those with and those without a duraplasty. However, after controlling for age, sex, preoperative curve magnitude, syrinx length, syrinx width, and holocord syrinx, extradural decompression was associated with curve progression > 10°, but not increased occurrence of fusion. Older age at PFD and larger preoperative curve magnitude were independently associated with subsequent occurrence of fusion. Greater syrinx reduction after PFD of either type was associated with decreased occurrence of fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis undergoing PFD, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of surgical correction of scoliosis between those receiving a duraplasty and those with an extradural decompression. However, after controlling for preoperative factors including age, syrinx characteristics, and curve magnitude, patients treated with duraplasty were less likely to have curve progression than patients treated with extradural decompression. Further study is needed to evaluate the role of duraplasty in curve stabilization after PFD.