What is Surgery for Diaphragmatic Hernias?

The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity and helps in breathing. Sometimes, a congenital birth defect in children may cause an opening in the diaphragm. The abdominal organs may move into the chest region and interfere with the complete growth of the lungs, which can lead to difficulty in breathing. This condition is called diaphragmatic hernia. Diaphragmatic hernia can be repaired with the help of surgery.

Procedure for Surgery for Diaphragmatic Hernias

Before surgery, your child will be put on a breathing device to improve its oxygen level. Diaphragmatic hernia repair is performed under general anaesthesia. Your child’s doctor makes an incision in your child’s abdomen, below the ribs to expose the organs. The doctor then gently pulls the abdominal organs down into the abdominal cavity (original place) and repairs the opening in the diaphragm with the help of sutures or a plastic patch.

Complications of Surgery for Diaphragmatic Hernias

Like all surgeries, diaphragmatic hernia repair may include certain complications such as respiratory failure, lung problems, collapsed lungs and breathing problems.

  • The Clementine Churchill Hospital
  • NHS Royal Free London
  • UCL
  • NHS London North West
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England