What is it?

Dandy-Walker complex is a rare congenital brain malformation that affects the cerebellum and the fluid-filled spaces around it. This condition is named after Walter E. Dandy and Arthur Earl Walker, who were the first to describe it in 1914.

The Dandy-Walker complex is characterized by three main features:

Enlargement of the fourth ventricle, which is a fluid-filled space in the brain.
Partial or complete absence of the cerebellar vermis, which is the central part of the cerebellum that connects the two hemispheres.
Cyst formation in the posterior fossa, which is the space at the base of the skull that houses the cerebellum.

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Signs & symptoms

The symptoms of Dandy-Walker complex can vary widely depending on the severity of the malformation. Some common symptoms include:

- Enlarged head
- Delayed motor development
- Muscle weakness or stiffness
- Difficulty with balance and coordination
- Seizures
- Abnormal eye movements
- Hydrocephalus (buildup of fluid in the brain)
- Intellectual disability
- Behavioral problems


Dandy-Walker complex is usually diagnosed during a prenatal ultrasound or soon after birth. A physical exam may reveal an enlarged head or a bulging fontanelle (soft spot). Imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans are used to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the condition.


There is no cure for Dandy-Walker complex, and treatment is mainly supportive and based on the individual's symptoms. Treatment may include:

- Surgery to relieve hydrocephalus or remove cysts
- Medications to control seizures or manage symptoms such as muscle stiffness or behavioral problems
- Physical therapy to improve motor skills and coordination
- Occupational therapy to assist with daily living skills
- Speech therapy to improve communication skills

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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