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Diaphragmatic Hernia

An abnormal hole, a hernia can allow body parts from one area of the body to protrude into another.  One of the important tasks of the dome-shaped diaphragm is to separate the internal workings of the chest and abdominal cavities. Hernias that develop in the diaphragm provide an unwanted opening for abdominal organs to enter the chest area.

Diaphragmatic hernias can arise at birth due to congenital conditions such as Bochdalek and Morgagni hernias or from traumatic injury to the abdomen. Automobile accidents and falls are among the most common causes for this condition. Diaphragmatic hernias demand prompt medical attention, usually requiring immediate surgical intervention and repair.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Diaphragmatic Hernia

Signs of diaphragmatic hernia include:

  • persistent shortness of breath
  • abnormal chest movement
  • bowel obstruction

Congenital diaphragmatic hernias often develop in the womb and can be diagnosed before birth.

Ultrasound is a commonly used diagnostic tool for determining if you have a diaphragmatic hernia. Other tests may include:

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

Surgical Treatment Options for Diaphragmatic Hernia 

Surgical intervention for a diaphragmatic hernia involves pushing the stomach or other protrusions back into place. The surgeon then narrows the gap in the diaphragm (hiatus) with sutures and mesh materials to prevent another hernia.

At NorthShore, our experienced thoracic surgeons repair the majority of diaphragmatic hernias using minimally-invasive techniques.

For More Information

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