New Jersey Chiari Malformation Attorneys
Advocating for Medical Malpractice Victims across the United States
The brain is a highly complex organ, with a multitude of components that control specific systems and functions throughout the body. Due to the association between brain structures and the areas they control, a structural abnormality or defect in the brain can spell catastrophic consequences for necessary functions elsewhere in the body. Chiari Malformations represent one such example of the problems that can arise from the inter-connectivity of the brain and body. Chiari Malformations are structural defects in the cerebellum that typically arise as a result of genetic mutations or nutritional deficiencies during gestation. When Chiari Malformations are present, the sufferer can experience problems with balance, touch, reflexes, sensation, and motor skills. As such, timely diagnosis and treatment for Chiari Malformations is essential to prevent further complications and ensure the best quality of life. If doctors fail to diagnose or treat Chiari Malformations, they may be held liable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
At Fronzuto Law Group, our highly experienced medical and pediatric malpractice attorneys represent children and families across the U.S. who have been harmed by the negligence of medical professionals. With a wellspring of knowledge and resources, we have achieved millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients suffering from brain and spinal cord injuries, craniosynostosis, plagiocephaly, and many other devastating conditions. The founder of our firm, Ernest P. Fronzuto, is a respected legal authority on complex pediatric malpractice and is called upon to consult on these cases across the United States. Driven by his commitment to develop a thorough understanding of both the medical and legal nuances of each case, we limit the number of clients that we take on to provide support, guidance, and unparalleled representation. To discuss your case with a member of our skilled legal team, please schedule a free initial consultation today by calling 973-435-4551 or toll free at 888-409-0816. You may also contact our law firm online.
“Ernie is a gifted litigator who made our family feel comfortable and safe. He protected us every step of the way. Our case was long and complicated and not only did Ernie learn about this rare condition, he became an expert!” – Former Client
Chiari Malformations: The Basics
Chiari Malformations are structural defects in the cerebellum. Although it was previously estimated that Chiari malformations occur in 1 out of every 1,000 births, new research and testing techniques indicate that the prevalence of these defects may be much higher. A typical brain is structured so that the cerebellum and certain components of the brain stem are situated in an indented space located at the lower rear of the skull, just above the foramen magnum (a funnel-like opening to the spinal canal). When the indented space is abnormally small, the cerebellum can be pushed downward into the foramen magnum and spinal canal. This condition increases the pressure in the area and may adversely impact the functions of the cerbellum. It can also prevent cerebrospinal fluid from accessing the area, which is essential for protecting the cerebellum and nearby structures.
Chiari Malformations typically form during fetal development and may be caused by genetic mutations or nutritional deficiencies in the mother’s diet during gestation. Chiari Malformations can also develop during adolescence or adulthood if an individual loses excessive spinal fluid as a result of injury, toxic exposure, or infection. Notably, they are more likely to occur in females than males. Chiari Malformations are often associated with other conditions, the most common of which include: Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, Syringomyelia, Tethered cord syndrome, and spinal curvature conditions such as scoliosis. There is also a well-established link between Chiari Malformations and craniosynostosis, Apert Syndrome, and Crouzon Syndrome.
Chiari Malformation Symptoms
The symptomology of Chiari Malformations is highly variable and in some patients, no symptoms are present at all. In other cases, a patient will develop symptoms that increase in intensity over time. Some of the most common symptoms associated with Chiari Malformations include:
- Lower back and/or neck pain
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Vision problems
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Hearing loss
- Problems with motor skills
- Sleep apnea
- Weakness of the vocal cords
- Breathing difficulties
Infants with Chiari Malformations may exhibit some of the aforementioned symptoms, in addition to:
- Trouble swallowing
- Irritability when being fed
- Inability to gain weight
- Gagging or vomiting
- Excessive drooling
- Arm weakness
- A stiff neck
Diagnosis and Treatment for Chiari Malformations
In order to diagnose Chiari Malformations, doctors will typically conduct physical exams to assess balance, coordination, motor skills, sensation, and reflexes. In addition, tests including X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Appropriate treatment for Chiari Malformations is contingent upon the patient’s specific symptoms and associated complications. In some cases, medication is prescribed to treat symptoms, while in others, surgery is necessary to correct structural abnormalities, alleviate pressure on the brain, and prevent further damage. In children with Chiari Malformations, surgery may be critical for preventing development delays. The treating physician must diagnose Chiari Malformations as soon as possible and develop an appropriate treatment plan to ensure the best outcome. Failure to identify and treat Chiari Malformations can lead to devastating consequences and may provide grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Contact our New York Chiari Malformation Lawyers for a Free Case Evaluation
If your child suffers from Chiari Malformations, craniosynostosis, plagiocephaly, or another birth defect, contact Fronzuto Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation about your potential claim: 973-435-4551 (toll free at 888-409-0816). We review cases across the United States.
Chiari Malformation Resources
- Chiari Malformation Fact Sheet, from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Chiari Malformations, from Craniosynostosis and Positional Plagiocephaly Support (CAPPS)