OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate changes in the posterior cranial fossa in patients with symptomatic Chiari malformation type I (CMI) compared to a control group. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed clinical and radiological data from 12 symptomatic patients with CMI and 24 healthy control subjects. The structures of the brain and skull base were investigated using magnetic resonance imaging. RESULTS: The length of the clivus had significantly decreased in the CMI group than in the control group (p=0.000). The angle between the clivus and the McRae line (p<0.024), as the angle between the supraocciput and the McRae line (p<0.021), and the angle between the tentorium and a line connecting the internal occipital protuberance to the opisthion (p<0.009) were significantly larger in the CMI group than in the control group. The mean vertical length of the cerebellar hemisphere (p<0.003) and the mean length of the coronal and sagittal superoinferior aspects of the cerebellum (p<0.05) were longer in the CMI group than in the control group, while the mean length of the axial anteroposterior aspect of the cerebellum (p<0.001) was significantly shorter in the CMI group relative to control subjects. CONCLUSION: We elucidate the transformation of the posterior cranial fossa into the narrow funnel shape. The sufficient cephalocaudal extension of the craniectomy of the posterior cranial fossa has more decompression effect than other type extension of the craniectomy in CMI patients.