Is Chiari an emergency?

No. A Chiari malformation has usually been present for a patient's entire life. Symptoms usually come about very slowly over months or years. Rarely, patients may experience symptoms only after some minor or major trauma such as a fall or motor vehicle accident. Once Chiari is diagnosed, surgery can be performed on an elective basis if it's recommended. (Read more on Diagnosing and Treating Chiari Malformation.)