Laparoscopic treatment of median arcuate ligament syndrome: a systematic review

Int Angiol . 2019 Dec;38(6):474-483. doi: 10.23736/S0392-9590.19.04161-0. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Fecha de la publicación: 30/09/2019

Autor: Enrique M San Norberto( ), Alejandro Romero (2), Liliana A Fidalgo-Domingos (3), Irene García-Saiz (4), James Taylor (5), Carlos Vaquero (3)


1Department Vascular Surgery, Valladolid University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain –

2Department of General Surgery, Valladolid University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain.

3Department Vascular Surgery, Valladolid University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain.

4Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Rio Hortega University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain.

5Department of Cardiac Surgery, Valencia General University Hospital, Valencia, Spain.


Introduction: Median arcuate ligament syndrome (MALS) is an uncommon condition caused by the extrinsic compression of the celiac trunk (CT) and celiac ganglion, secondary to an anatomical abnormality of the median arcuate ligament fibers. It is characterized by postprandial epigastric pain, chronic abdominal pain, weight loss, nausea and vomiting. MALS is typically diagnosed after the exclusion of other, more common conditions; however, a variety of imaging and diagnostic modalities, including Duplex ultrasonography, computed tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography, gastric tonometry and angiography can suggest findings consistent with MALS.

Evidence acquisition: Laparoscopic approach has been proposed as the option of choice for the treatment of these patients. A systematic review of the international literature regarding this modality of treatment is presented here.

Evidence synthesis: The review included 504 cases, and several principles are suggested to improve the management. The advantages of this minimally invasive technique include short operative time (136.0 minutes, range 70-242), shorter hospital stay (3.8 days, range 0.5-7) and low rate of conversion to open surgery (4.2%).

Conclusions: Various treatment modalities are available to decompress the celiac trunk. Although open surgery has been traditionally accepted as the gold standard, laparoscopic division of the MALS has proven equal results. Others have described different treatment modalities, including bypass surgery and endovascular procedures (angioplasty or stent placement). Laparoscopic approaches to correct MALS are feasible and safe. It may be the preferred modality of treatment in view of its lack of morbidity, shorter hospital stay and good results.