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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2002 Jan;178(1):185-9.

The "diaphanous" diaphragm: a radiographic sign seen after patch repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia in neonates.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of California San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave., (M-372), San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.



The purpose of this study was to describe the radiographic features and etiology of the "diaphanous" (translucent) diaphragm. This sign, which, to our knowledge, has not previously been described, is a transient phenomenon seen on chest radiographs, after surgical patch repair of congenital diaphragmatic hernia.


The diaphanous diaphragm is a consequence of air trapped in the porous polytetrafluoroethylene graft that creates an intragraft radiolucency apparent on postoperative chest radiographs obtained within the first 24 hr. This radiolucency is transient and gradually disappears over the first few postoperative days as the air is replaced by granulation tissue. This sign should be recognized and not mistaken for a persistent pneumothorax after repair of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

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