Matthew Niezgodski

Welcome to our CaringBridge site for Matthew. We were encouraged to create this page to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most. He is the second of our 8 children to have this procedure for the same disorder.

Some Background:

For several months, Matthew complained about numbness in his right arm and loss of temperature sensation in his right hand. First stop, X-Ray ordered by our pediatrician which showed nothing wrong. Couple weeks pass, and continued issues and concerns from Matthew. A visit to OrthoIndy for a consultation to see if they could help isolate the cause. The numbness and pain were not due to bone issues in his shoulder or neck. They ordered an MRI to see if they could determine what the cause of pain was for Matthew. 12/28/17 - MRI for Matthew. Ruth and I sat waiting for the MRI to complete. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect the news we received on 1/2/18 - the MRI showed that Matthew had a Chiari Type I malformation and a Syrinx in his spine. A referral to the Neurosurgeon at Riley that already sees two of our other children annually to check on their wellness. She confirmed that Matthew did iin fact have a Chiari Type I malformation and Syringomyellia. She ordered further MR testing to make sure she knew exactly what we were dealing with and after confirmation, his date was set to have the following procedure:

:Chiari surgery. A posterior fossa decompression is a surgical procedure performed to remove the bone at the back of the skull and spine. The dura overlying the tonsils is opened and a patch is sewn to expand the space, similar to letting out the waistband on a pair of pants."

Type 1 Chiari Malformation - The bony space enclosing the lower part of Matthew's brain is smaller than normal. The crowding causes the cerebral tonsils to push out of the skull and into the spinal canal. The herniated tonsils (Matthew's measure 11mm) block the normal flow of CSF - which creates pressure on the brain stem and spinal cord.

Syringomyelia - often referred to as SM, is a chronic disorder involving the spinal cord. The condition occurs when cerebrospinal fluid (normally found outside of the spinal cord and brain) enters the interior of the spinal cord, forming a cavity known as a syrinx. This syrinx often expands and elongates over time, destroying the center of the spinal cord. As the nerve fibers inside the spinal cord are damaged, a wide variety of symptoms can occur, depending upon the size and location of the syrinx.

Visit to search for these conditions. Google provides way too much detail on the best case and worst case.

Matthew will have surgery on Monday, February 12th 2018 @ 7:30AM EST. He could be in the hospital for a week recovering then at home for a week prior to his return to school. Upon return to school he can have no physical exertion for at least 3 months. (No lifting and NO LACROSSE)

We are asking for prayers for Matthew, her Surgeon, the staff at Riley and our family as this experience unfolds over the next several weeks.

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