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Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome
(MALS)

The Team

The median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) multidisciplinary team is led by pediatric surgeon Dr. Grace Mak and vascular surgeon Dr. Christopher Skelly. This team consists of our MALS coordinator Christopher Speaker, APN; a psychiatrist, interventional radiologist and pain specialists.

The Program

Since its inception, the MALS program has diagnosed and treated this disease in both males and females of all ages from across the world. MALS is thought to be a multifactorial disease process leading to chronic abdominal pain most commonly following meals. The cause is likely multifactorial, consisting of compression of the celiac artery by the median arcuate ligament compromising blood flow as well as neuropathic pain due to the celiac plexus. At the University of Chicago Medicine, we use vascular duplex studies and computed tomography angiography (CTA) along with 3-D imaging to diagnose MALS. Treatment then consists of laparoscopic release of the median arcuate ligament performed by the combined team of pediatric and vascular surgery. Patients are followed long-term by surgery, repeat vascular duplex imaging, as well as psychiatry.

For more information regarding the UCMALS program, please visit www.ucmals.com.