Chiari Online Support Group

Shunt surgery

Little back story I was in the hospital for irretractable migraines due to my chiari malformation. Er doctor refused to do a spinal tap. He called my neurosurgeon who said that he would do it in his office and I would be looking at shunt surgery as early as next week. What all is involved with the shunt surgery? I have an appointment with him Monday and I want to know what I should ask and what I should be prepared for. Any help would be greatly appreciated. These migraines are making it really hard for me to do anything in my daily life. I have missed school and my kids’ school functions since I can barely move without pain. I am constantly begging someone to end the pain. My herniation is now at 8mm. My husband isn’t very supportive he won’t come with me to doctors appointments so I want to be throughly prepared. Thanks

My surgical notes say that I had “one #10 Jackson - Pratt drain in epidural space” which apparently helps with the cerebral-spinal fluid flow. It would seem to me that if you have chiaris, you would need to have the tonsil (the oozing part of your brain that compresses onto your brain stem) also removed or cut back - to allow for flow of cerebral-spinal fluid as well! Following my surgery, my headaches pretty much went away. Except for a few bad days now and then.

Hi! I had a shunt placed a couple of days after my chiari decompression. I would suggest asking about the different type of shunts. I have a Delta 1.0 non progamable and its MRI compatible meaning it doesnt need to be programmed each time I have a MRI.Hope this helps.

@Laceymom08 Its actually becoming a standard of care with far fewer complications than decompression surgery assuming the problem IS CSF flow and not a guess as to the chiari being the cause of problem as it frequently is not. It used to be common when there was syrinx but not so much anymore

This is a pretty good explanation: http://www.lifenph.com/treatment/surgery

Jackson Pratt is usually a temporary drain post operativley where as the Delta Valve and similar are a more permanent solution. Some medical centers are doing the shunt first to see if that helps the problem and then considering more invasive surgery as a longer term solution when normal pressure hydrocephalus is the problem