A previously healthy 13-year-old boy without myelodysplasia who had mild scoliosis was seen with complaints of nasal congestion, noisy nighttime breathing, and difficulty sleeping. Flattening of the inspiratory loop on the flow-volume curve was found on pulmonary function testing, suggesting a variable extrathoracic obstruction due to a laryngeal lesion. Bilateral abductor vocal cord paralysis and sleep apnea developed precipitously following general anesthesia. Further workup demonstrated a type-I Chiari malformation with syringomyelia. Brainstem abnormalities such as Chiari malformation with secondary tenth cranial nerve deficits should be considered in previously healthy children and adolescents with signs and symptoms of upper airway obstruction and apnea.