After surgery .... Help!

Just got an MRI back and After surgery, should the cerebellar tonsils still be BELOW the foramen magnum???

How low is the herniation? Have you had a post op CINE MRI?

my original herniation was 25mm. my MRI after surgery just said my tonsils were below foramen magnum and at C2. I’ve never had a CINE MRI.

Ive never had surgery. Im at 5mm but i had an mri video done where my dr was able to see how bad my csf flow is. Poor flow behind brain, where i have my chiari symptoms. Its good to do one.

I never even heard about that kind of MRI until I found this site. My doctor didn’t even bring it up to me.

Could be, because all they did was widen the space for fluids to flow…

but should the tonsils be down to the spine at C2?

No. Danielle can you message me?

As others have said, it is the flow that is important. The tonsils will stay low unless cauterized which many surgeons do not do unless they are adhering to other tissue and forming lesions or it is necessary to create additional space for CSF flow. The brain is not affected by this surgery-remember that it is not brain surgery. The brain may have sagged or slumped, causing the tonsils to further herniate at some point prior to surgery. But, gravity causes this and the brain never goes back up!

It is pretty common to have a CINE MRI both prior to surgery to check the degree, if any, of CFS flow blockage and then again after surgery to make sure flow is restored. You might want to ask your NS about it and why it was not seen as needed in your case.


so then they should be there? lol this is so confusing :frowning: hate chiari.

I don’t know if this helps Danielle, but I think the answer to your question is no, they should not be there but that is what Chiari Malformation is! Most all of us with CM have lowered tonsils and there is no way to put them back where they belong! Surgery fixes, or helps to correct, the problems created by the low tonsils but the tonsils are still there after the surgery. So, I believe that your tonsils are likely where they were prior to surgery and that can’t be fixed. However, the CINE MRI will assure you that the flow is restored and normal so you don’t develop other complications. Sometimes NS’s will cauterize the lower part of the tonsils if they are very low but not all NS’s believe in doing this so that answer reminds to be seen and is very case dependent.

Although we all have a lot in common with this problem, every case is very different because it is so dependent on individual anatomy and other presenting conditions and health problems. No one on here can accurately tell you if you need more surgery- only a NS should be answering those questions. Can you get with your NS and go through some of this and your new symptoms so you can get the answers you need?

I am truly sorry you are having more symptoms. I know it is scary but it could be other spinal issues such a a disk trouble, etc. that everyone gets as we age and are easier to treat and deal with than CM!!! I hope you can get some answers soon.


if I’m having symptoms like before surgery - and some new ones - could that be a CSF problem?

You guys are freaking me out!! I have JUST decided to get a third opinion and have the decompression surgery, if he is a fit. I have heard so many negatives about tge surgery. Does ANYONE have positive outcome???

Katie, I felt AMAZING for a good 2 years after surgery. These new symptoms and returning symptoms just started!

Hi Katie,

I had a positive outcome over 3 years ago and am doing very well. Read my other posts for more detail but remember that there are MANY people out there who have had successful surgeries for CM, especially if they do not have other complicating conditions. Because they have their life back, they have moved on and in most cases are not reading or posting on these websites. While it might be nice if they were, it is great that their surgeries went so well and should give you hope and confidence that you might have a great outcome! The NS 's you are seeing should be able to give you a pretty good idea of how successful they feel surgery will be for you and to what extent your symptoms are likely to go away. If you decide to go through with surgery, you will have a lot of good support here!


Hi there I had decompression surgery 6/11/13 and aftet surgey my pain level never reached a 3/4 eben during revocery at home i was in the hospital 2 days and didnt even go to ICU You guys I read all these horror stories before having the surgery and I know every one us different but being newly diagnosed never even heard of such condition been I was so affraid. If I could put one persone at ease my job is done I would recommend it 4montns post op I feel great .My symptoms were caught before major damage happend I also have a syrinx in my spine. Take care

sorry for the misspelled words im on my cell

So then they shouldn’t be there or it’s normal? Lol people are saying different things =/ I’m so confused. UGH:((

Welcome to.the! Lol! Hope everything goes well. Goid luck!

It depends on the opration that was performed. The only way to move the cerbebellar tonsils is to literally make them smaller(what many will call cytoreduction/bipolar reduction, or simply removal). Unless your tonsils were manipulated and intentionally changed(made smaller), they will remain where they were pre-operatively. Surgery is meant to relieve pressure, not restore normal anatomy(hence, the comments onj cine MRIs, which can be very helpful in the post-operative period).

Ask your surgeon what procedure was done specifically(if you don't know). For most Chiari patients, their cerebellar tonsils remain below the foramen magnum post-operatively.

Danielle said:

So then they shouldn't be there or it's normal? Lol people are saying different things =/ I'm so confused. UGH:((