My name is Andrew and I was recently told I have the condition based on an incidental diagnosis from an MRI. They have told me it 3mm and I don’t understand the significance of this. I don’t believe I have any symptoms. The MRI was ordered more based on concerns due to family history of strokes. I have an apt with a neurosurgeon to follow up. I have big plans to move out of the country to be with my girlfriend. Requiring surgery could really put that in jeopardy. Just looking for some feedback I guess…

3 mm is how far your cerebellum extends through the foramen magnum into the spinal cord space. The further it extends, the more havoc it can create with interfering in the spinal cord fluid. For most people, the cerebellum stays nicely within the skull. For those with Chiari, the skull is too small to contain the brain (or brains are too big), so the lower part of the cerebellum, called the cerebellar tonsils, hangs down through the opening at the bottom of the skull, preventing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from flowing freely into the spinal canal.

It is believed to be a congenital birth defect that you can have since you were born and just not know it.

On my MRI, mine was listed at 7 mm. My neurosurgeon doesn't think this is significant to have surgery to correct it, even though my headaches are getting worse. I'm getting a second opinion.

The AANS indicate that the prevalence of Chiari in the general population has been estimated at slightly less than one in 1000 with the majority of these cases being asymptomatic and detected coincidently, among patients who have undergone diagnostic imaging for unrelated reasons, as you have experienced. Surgery is only indicated in a very small number of cases. Here is the link to the AANS info: http://www.aans.org/en/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Tre...

Probably wise to educate yourself about Chiari so you can best advocate for yourself but "if it ain't broke .....".

Don't worry yourself about thoughts of surgery! If you are asymptomatic, no surgical intervention is nesecary. It's done only to prevent the condition from worsening, or to relieve symptoms in severe cases.

But, as Jules said, I'ts always good to educate yourself in the matter.