Color enhanced sagital MRI of the brain of a person with a Chiari I malformation. This is a congenital anomaly in the development of the hindbrain (posterior fossa). The corpus callosum (yellow), the pituitary gland (small rounded brown structure with a stem), the cerebellum (purple), and the cerebellar tonsil (purple peg like structure projecting into the upper cervical spinal canal) are visible. The blue structures with red rim are the bones of the skull base and the bright red structure is the first cervical vertebrae (the atlas). The vertical yellow stripe represents a syrinx (cavity) in the cervical spinal cord. The cranial vault which holds the brainstem and cerebellum is congenitally small. As a result the brainstem is displaced downwards into the upper cervical spinal canal. This often results in some compression of the brainstem at the foramen magnum which is the small opening between the upper cervical spinal canal and the cranial vault. This is the mildest degree of this type of malformation.
April 3rd, 2012
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