Cranio-cervical decompression

Foramen magnum decompression

If you have been diagnosed with a Chiari malformation, our neurosurgeons can treat you with a decompression procedure

About

Cranio-cervical (foramen magnum) decompression is a surgical procedure to treat Chiari malformation. This is when part of your brain protrudes into your upper spinal canal. As a result your neurosurgeon will remove small sections of bone from your skull and spine. This creates more space for the brain tissue in this area.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Cranio-cervical decompression is a surgical procedure carried out under general anaesthetic. It is also known as foramen magnum decompression. Your surgeon will make an incision at the top of the neck extending to the back of the head. They will then remove a small amount from the base of the skull, along with the arch of bone at the back of the first vertebra and occasionally the second.  The tough membrane covering the back of the brain and spinal cord (the dura) will then be opened and patched to create more space for the brain tissue. 
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your neurosurgeon will explain your foramen magnum decompression procedure to you and answer any questions you might have.

    Because you'll be having general anaesthetic, they'll let you know how long you should avoid eating and drinking before surgery. You may also be asked to attend a nurse-led pre assessment clinic.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    After your foramen magnum decompression procedure, you'll be transferred to our recovery ward, where you’ll be looked after by a specialist team. Your neurosurgeon will explain your recovery time to you and when you can expect to get back to your usual routine.

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Request an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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