INTRODUCTION: The Chiari I malformation (CIM) is commonly encountered by neurosurgeons and can have different etiologies and clinical presentations. CASE REPORT: We report a CIM patient who presented with symptoms of ventral brain stem compression and was found to have a large peri-odontoid pannus. Posterior fossa decompression was performed with a planned second-stage odontoidectomy. However, at the 6-month follow-up, postoperative images demonstrated a mostly resolved pannus and improvement of the brain stem compression symptoms, and the patient progressed uneventfully without the need for odontoidectomy. CONCLUSIONS: This case illustrates the resolution of a significant and symptomatic peri-odontoid pannus in a patient with CIM without craniocervical fusion or odontoidectomy. Such a case indicates that not all peri-odontoid pannus formations in CIM patients are due to hypermobility at the craniocervical junction.