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J Pediatr Surg. 2005 Nov;40(11):1712-5.

Thoracoscopic diaphragmatic eventration repair in children: about 10 cases.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Université Louis Pasteur, Hôpital de Hautepierre, 67098 Strasbourg, France.



Recent reports in literature have emphasized the clinical perception of reduced pain, postoperative morbidity, and dysfunction associated with thoracoscopic approach compared with standard thoracotomy. The authors describe a thoracoscopic approach and technical details for diaphragmatic eventration repair in children.


Ten patients, 4 girls and 6 boys, 1 teenager (14 years old) and 9 children (age range, 6-41 months; average, 17 months), were operated for a diaphragmatic eventration in 3 different pediatric surgery teams, according to the same technique. Symptoms were recurrent infection (7 cases), dyspnea on exertion (2 cases), and a rib deformity (1 case). An elective thoracoscopy was performed, patient in a lateral decubitus. A low carbon dioxide insufflation allowed a lung collapse. Reduction of the eventration was made progressively when folding and plicating the diaphragm. Plication of the diaphragm was done with an interrupted suture (6 cases) or a running suture (4 cases). The procedure finished either with an exsufflation (4 cases) or a drain (6 cases).


A conversion was necessary in 2 cases: 1 insufflation was not tolerated and 1 diaphragm, higher than the fifth space, reduced too much the operative field. Patients recovered between 2 and 4 days. Dyspnea disappeared immediately. Mean follow-up of 16 months could assess the clinical improvement in every patient.


Thoracoscopic conditions are quite different between a diaphragmatic hernia repair previously reported and an eventration. Concerning diaphragmatic hernias, reduction is easy, giving a large operative space for suturing the diaphragm. Concerning diaphragmatic eventrations, the lack of space remains important at the beginning of the procedure despite the insufflation into the pleural cavity. The operative ports must be high enough in the chest to allow a good mobility of the instruments. Chest drainage seems to be unnecessary.


Diaphragmatic eventration repair by thoracoscopy is feasible, safe, and efficient in children. Above all, it avoids a thoracotomy. It improves the immediate postoperative results with a good respiratory function.

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