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Your doctor has recommended surgery for your Chiari malformation. The next step is finding a Chiari malformation surgeon. This may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. A little preparation now can reduce the time and energy you spend searching by focusing your efforts in the right direction from the start.

To get a better idea of how to find a Chiari malformation surgeon, it is important to think about qualities you might look for in a surgeon and potential questions to ask. Doing so will prepare you to look for the right surgeon for you and your needs.

How to Find Your Surgeon

The first step in finding the best doctors for Chiari malformation is to know where to look. Begin by asking people you know and trust. Chiari malformations occur frequently enough (prevalence of 1 in 1,000 people) that people in your circle may be affected. Someone you know may be able to recommend a Chiari malformation surgeon or know someone who can.

The internet has made the world a seemingly smaller place, which can help direct your search for Chiari specialists.  You can look online to learn about the experiences of other patients. Check online review sites and the institution’s website for patient testimonials, background about the surgeon’s training, information about the surgeon’s specialized expertise with Chiari malformation, and other qualities that may be important to you.

Finally, don’t forget about referrals from your physician or insurance company. The doctor who recommended treatment may suggest a surgeon.  Your insurance company may have a list of surgeons who specialize in treatment of Chiari malformation. These resources can be a good jumping-off point to start researching more about the practice itself.

Qualities Your Surgeon Should Possess

Put simply, the qualities your surgeon should possess are the ones that are important to you as the patient. However, some things you may wish to look for include:

Experience treating Chiari malformation

  • Academic Specialization
  • Compassion
  • Trustworthiness
  • Transparency
  • Confidence

Keep an eye open for these terms, as well as any others that mean something to you, when looking at online reviews.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Once your search leads you to a surgeon who seems to be a good fit, it is important to meet in person to develop a first hand opinion. Prior to your first visit, develop a list of questions. They can be about the procedure itself or directed toward getting to know your surgeon. Some ideas include:

What is your experience treating Chiari malformation?

  • What sets your practice apart from others?
  • What are my non-surgical treatment options?
  • What are my surgical treatment options?
  • What can I expect during and after surgery?

Don’t worry about asking a question that you think is silly or irrelevant. If it’s something you want to know more about, it’s perfectly relevant and worth asking. If you aren’t satisfied with the answers, you may want to consider another doctor.

What to Look for in the Best Doctors for Chiari Malformation

If you are in the Tristate area, the following neurosurgeons specialize in the treatment of Chiari malformations. Each surgeon has focused on treatment and research of Chiari malformation and is considered an expert in the field.

Dr. Paul R. Gigante

Dr. Gigante treats adult Chiari malformation and considers himself an advocate for all his patients. He believes in using the most conservative treatment approach possible for every case, based on each individual patient’s needs.

Dr. Gaetan Moise

Dr. Moise specializes in the treatment of adult Chiari malformation.  Dr. Moise believes in working with his patients to develop individualized treatment strategies based on the patient’s symptoms and needs.  He is a proponent of non-surgical treatment options and has helped develop minimally invasive surgical approaches for Chiari malformation that reduce blood loss, length of surgery, hospitalization, post-operative pain, and recovery time.

Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson

A pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Anderson specializes in treating children with Chiari malformations. As a renowned expert, Dr. Anderson participates in the clinical treatment of patients, teaches around the world, has been featured in print and video media, and has been published over 150 times.

Dr. Luigi Bassani

Dr. Bassani is a pediatric Chiari malformation specialist who strives to provide outstanding care to patients and their families. During his very first year of practice, he was named as one of New Jersey’s Favorite Kids’ Docs for Pediatric Neurosurgery in 2015 by New Jersey Family magazine.

Putting It Together

Because you’ve taken a little extra time to think about how to find the best doctors for Chiari malformation surgery, you should be ready to begin your search. If you are in the Tristate area, the list of experts above can help give you a starting point. If not, consult with family and friends, your referring physician and insurance agency, or look online for the qualities you have determined are important to you.

It is important that you find a surgeon who makes you comfortable before, during and after the procedure. If at any time you don’t feel you and the practice are a good fit, you probably aren’t. Decide what you are looking for in your surgeon, and you will know the right practice when you find it.


Chiari malformation treatments