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Diaphragmatic Eventrations/Paralysis

Disorders of the diaphragm take many forms that can impair the movement and function of this dome-shaped muscle and severely impact your ability to breathe. Some of these conditions include:

  • Diaphragmatic eventration, a congenital abnormality that results in an elevated diaphragmatic dome that can push up against the lungs.
  • Diaphragmatic paralysis, a rare condition that occurs when one or both sides (left or right) of the diaphragm become paralyzed.

Damage to the phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm may also lead to the development of these conditions. Birth trauma, surgery, cancer and neuromuscular disorders are among the risk factors.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Diaphragmatic Eventrations/Paralysis

Signs of diaphragmatic eventrations/paralysis include:

  • persistent shortness of breath
  • abnormal chest movement
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • trouble sleeping

Ultrasound is a commonly used diagnostic tool for determining if you have one of these two disorders of the diaphragm. Other tests may include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Pulmonary Function Test

Surgical Treatment Options for Diaphragmatic Eventrations/Paralysis

Surgery to reposition the diaphragm can help alleviate the symptoms of diaphragmatic eventration or paralysis.  At NorthShore, our experienced thoracic surgeons routinely perform a procedure called diaphragmatic plication to lower the diaphragm and flatten its dome. This procedure allows the lungs to better expand, which improves breathing and reduces the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.

We repair the majority of diaphragmatic eventrations/paralysis by using minimally invasive techniques such as robotic surgery, video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) or laparoscopic surgery.

For More Information

To schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons, please call 847.570.2868.