This question was answered on Sat 08, Nov 2008 11:38pm by Dr Veena, MD

I have been told I have low lying cerebellar tonsils

Asked by Unregistered (Female; 28; Asthma and IBS several miscarriages and a child born and died with Bilatteral renal agenesis ) on Sat 08, Nov 2008 08:18pm
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I have been informed that my CT scan showed low lying cerebellar tonsils and was schedueled for an MRI what could cause this? Other symptoms are severe vertigo excessive tiredness headaches stiff neck numbness on the right side of my face weakness in arms and legs, and soreness in right arm and leg.

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Answer by Dr Veena, MD  on Sat 08, Nov 2008 11:38pm:

Hi, Thanks for writing in. Low lying cerebellar tonsils are described as cerebellar ectopia and it can lead to tonsillar herniation.In Tonsillar herniation or Downward cerebellar herniation the cerebellar tonsils move downward through the foramen magnum possibly causing compression of the lower brainstem and upper cervical spinal cord as they pass through the foramen magnum. Increased pressure on the brainstem can result in dysfunction of the centers in the brain responsible for controlling respiratory and cardiac function.Tonsillar herniation of the cerebellum is also known commonly as a Chiari Malformation (CM) which previously was called an Arnold Chiari Malformation (ACM). The currently accepted radiographic definition for a Chiari malformation are cerebellar tonsils that lay at least 5mm below the level of the foramen magnum. There are many suspected causes of tonsillar herniation including Spinal cord tethering or occult tight filum terminale ; decreased or malformed posterior fossa not providing enough room for the cerebellum; hydrocephalus or abnormal CSF volume pushing the tonsils out; connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, can be associated as well. The symptoms that you mentioned are of brainstem compression, which might be occuring due tonsillar herniation. Treatment includes measures to reduce intracranial tension, there by preventing tonsillar herniation. Take care.

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Comment by maria sanchez on Tue 27, Apr 2010 08:06pm:
Hi! I have a question on low lying cerebellar tonsils. Does this requier an operation? Is the operation very risky? What is the worst that can happen to me if I don't operate? Thank You very much I will be waiting for your response.

Comment by Sue on Tue 05, Oct 2010 05:23pm:
I was told by my neurosurgeon today that I have "much lower than normal" low lying cerebellar tonsils. I also have Syringomyelia. How can the 2 of these be connected?

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