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Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome (MALS)


MALS arises when an arc-shaped band of tissue in the chest area (median arcuate ligament) pulls on the artery that carries blood to the upper abdomen. The celiac artery is the name given to this artery. Some patients experience stomach pain as a result of MALS.

The median arcuate ligament syndrome and celiac artery are located differently in each individual. The ligament typically crosses over the body’s biggest blood vessel (the aorta). It is located above the celiac artery. However, the ligament or artery may be out of place at times, resulting in MALS. The ligament may also put strain on the network of nerves that surround the celiac artery (celiac plexus).


The median arcuate ligament syndrome cause is the abnormal positioning or hypertrophy (enlargement) of the median arcuate ligament. This structural issue can lead to the ligament exerting pressure on the celiac artery, disrupting blood flow. While the exact cause of this ligament abnormality is not always clear, it can result in the characteristic symptoms associated with MALS.


Median arcuate ligament syndrome symptoms can be debilitating and prolonged. Individuals suffering from this illness frequently report acute abdominal pain, particularly after eating. This pain may originate in the upper abdomen and radiate to the back. Unusual weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are also common symptoms. These symptoms might have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.


MALS is normally diagnosed after a thorough evaluation by a healthcare expert. This evaluation may include a thorough medical history, a physical examination, and the ordering of numerous diagnostic tests. 

Imaging investigations, such as CT angiography or Doppler ultrasound, are useful for detecting celiac artery compression. Blood tests may also be performed to rule out other medical problems that can cause symptoms similar to those described above.


Surgical surgery is the mainstay of median arcuate ligament syndrome treatment. The purpose of surgery is to relieve the median arcuate ligament’s compression of the celiac artery. This can be accomplished through celiac artery decompression or laparoscopic median arcuate ligament release. Surgical surgery can ease symptoms and improve blood flow to the afflicted abdominal organs by easing strain on the celiac artery. Prior to surgery, conservative measures such as dietary changes and pain management may be tried in some situations.

When To See A Doctor

If you have persistent and severe abdominal discomfort, unexplained weight loss, or other troubling digestive symptoms, you should seek medical assistance right once. MALS disease is a rare disorder that can be difficult to diagnose, therefore it is critical to seek medical attention for a comprehensive examination. 

If you are diagnosed with MALS, discussing treatment choices and potential surgical intervention with your healthcare provider is critical for properly managing the condition and enhancing your quality of life.


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about median arcuate ligament syndrome or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.