Skip to main content

Getting diagnosed with a Chiari malformation can make you feel intimidated. The good news is that New Jersey has excellent neurosurgeons who specialize in treating Chiari malformations. Use the following tips to help you choose a doctor who’s right for you.

What Qualities to Look For in a Chiari Malformation Surgeon

The first thing you should do is make sure you choose a neurosurgeon who is qualified to treat Chiari malformation. Neurosurgeons must go through years of medical education and residency before they can treat patients.  Ideally, your surgeon will have several years of experience treating Chiari malformation after training, so he or she will know how to react to any complications that might arise during the procedure.

Neurosurgeons who treat Chiari malformation typically specialize on either adult or pediatric patients. If you are an adult who was recently diagnosed with and are experiencing symptoms of Chiari malformation, then you will want to find an adult Chiari specialist. If you have a child who needs treatment, then you should find a pediatric Chiari specialist.

Titles That Can Help You Choose a New Jersey Chiari Doctor

Surgeons can earn a variety of designations during their careers. These designations show that they have remarkable levels of experience within their specialties. Some of the professional designations earned by Chiari malformation surgeons include FACS, FAAP and FAANS.

Doctors who list FACS after their names have been honored as Fellows of the American College of Surgeons, a group that has been exceeding medical standards since 1913. Surgeons who earn this accolade must display exemplary professional qualifications, ethical conduct and surgical competence.

FAAP, which stands for Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, distinguishes doctors who specialize in the needs of young patients. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has about 66,000 members devoted to the physical, mental and social well-being of children and young adults.

Surgeons who become Fellows of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS) must meet high levels of professional expectations. American FAANS must receive certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Doctors must also submit three letters of recommendation from current AANS members and keep current on the latest developments in neurosurgery through Maintenance of Certification activities.

Bedside Manner and Easy Conversation

Knowing a surgeon’s qualifications can help you choose a skilled doctor who knows how to perform your procedure. There is more to choosing a brain surgeon than browsing a list of degrees and qualifications, though. You also want to choose someone with a personality and bedside manner that puts you at ease.

Preparing for Chiari malformation surgery can be stressful. Finding a doctor that you trust will help you manage your stress. When meeting with doctors, talk to them about what you can expect from the surgery and your recovery time. You may take a liking to some doctors immediately. Others may not appeal to you. It’s a personal choice, so don’t feel embarrassed about choosing a surgeon who happens to have a personality that you enjoy.

Finding Chiari Malformation Surgeons in NJ

Finding a Chiari Malformation Surgeon Using Online Resources

One way to find quality information online when researching Chiari malformation surgeons is to look for the opinions of actual patients, either in the form of online reviews, patient testimonials on practice websites or on doctor-rating sites, such as and

Looking at online testimonials can help you determine whether or not the doctor possesses values you are looking for and if previous patients have been happy with their experiences. Keep in mind that a practice may only choose to publish positive reviews on their own website, so there may be an imbalance of positive and negative reviews there. However, sites like and include write-ups submitted by patients, whether they were happy or not and may have a slightly more balanced representation of opinions.

If you are part of a Chiari malformation support network online, the group may have a forum or section of its website dedicated to online reviews of Chiari malformation surgeons. These may not turn up when you do an online search, so don’t forget to use that resource if you have something of that nature available to you.

It can be helpful to think about what you find important in a doctor before you start your online search. Make a list of key qualities that you would like your doctor or the practice to have, and then keep an eye open for those words as you do your research. Some keywords you may wish to look for include:

  • Caring
  • Compassionate
  • Experienced
  • Confident
  • Trustworthy and include both a rankings system and online reviews, so these can be a good place to begin your search. By finding out what previous and current patients have to say, you’ll have a better idea of whether a particular doctor or practice might be the right fit for you.

What Insurance Does Your Chiari Malformation Surgeon Accept?

In addition to looking for an experienced, trustworthy and compassionate surgeon, you should consider looking for a practice that accepts your insurance. It is important from a financial perspective that your procedure and aftercare is fully covered by your insurance, so you may want to ensure that it will be before beginning any treatment visits.

You may be able to determine whether or not a practice accepts your insurance by checking online. Many practices will include this information directly on their website. In other cases, it may be necessary to call the office to speak with someone directly.

Another insurance-related consideration is whether or not a practice has a staff member who can help you better understand your individual insurance policy. Some offices will employ what’s referred to as a benefits specialist, whose job involves sitting down with patients and their insurance policies to determine exactly which procedures will be covered and how.

Though you may not consider a benefits specialist to be a particularly important asset, keep in mind how confusing the fine print on your insurance policy can be. To have a trained expert sit down with you to navigate your policy, take into consideration every procedure you have planned, and then help you determine your exact coverage can help save you the stress of unexpected bills during and after your treatment. It’s a resource many patients may be unfamiliar with and its value is easily overlooked.

Word of Mouth

Word of mouth, by the way, is a wonderful option for finding a new doctor. Talk to your family members and friends to see if they have any suggestions. Even if they have never worked with a neurosurgeon, they may know people who have had similar surgeries as you. If you belong to a support group for people living with Chiari malformation, talk to members of the group to learn more about their experiences with various doctors.

Our Chiari Surgeons

New Jersey has at least five surgeons who specialize in correcting Chiari malformations.

Dr. Gaetan Moise (MD, FAANS) is an adult Chiari specialist who has been trained in minimally invasive surgery techniques. He graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons before completing his surgery internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital.  He completed his neurological surgery residency and chief residency at The Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Richard C.E. Anderson (MD, FACS, FAAP) specializes in pediatric neurosurgery. Dr. Anderson earned his medical degree from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he graduated in the top 5 percent of his class. He completed his residency and chief residency at The Neurological Institute of New York at Columbia University Medical Center and New York Presbyterian Hospital. He also received advanced fellowship training in pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Utah-Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Other noteworthy Chiari malformation surgeons working in the New Jersey area include Dr. Luigi Bassani (MD) and Dr. Paul R. Gigante (MD). This group represents some of the most highly trained Chiari malformation doctors in New Jersey.

Chiari malformation treatments