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Acta Chir Belg. 2014 Mar-Apr;114(2):131-5.

Morgagni hernia: transabdominal or transthoracic approach?



Morgagni hernias are rare and constitute less than 2% of all diaphragmatic hernias. Treatment is primarily surgical and transthoracic or transabdominal route approach methods are amenable. In this study, we compared the results of our Morgagni hernia cases, which underwent either transabdominal or transthoracic method of surgery.


We retrospectively analyzed the records of 20 patients we operated on for Morgagni hernias between 1997 and 2011 in our clinic. Age, sex, presenting symptoms, lesion location, diagnoses, applied surgical method, duration of the hospital stay, morbidity and mortality rates were reviewed. Six of the cases were (30%) approached via thoracotomy and 14 (70%) were laparotomy. The hernial sac was resected in all cases. Diaphragmatic defects were repaired using nonabsorbable sutures in all cases except in one case where prolen mesh used.


Thirteen cases (65%) were female and seven (35%) were male. Mean age was 44.1 +/- 25.3 years (1-73 years). Hernias were located on the right side in 18 cases, the left side in one, and bilaterally located in one case. Herniated organs were: omentum in 19 (95%), transverse colon in 18 (90%), small bowel in 4 (20%), stomach in 3 (15%), and left lobe of the liver in one (5%) case. No complication was observed in patients who underwent laparotomy, and wound infection occurred in one patient who underwent thoracotomy. Hospital stays in thoracotomy and laparotomy groups are 7 and 6.2 days, respectively. There were no mortalities observed. There was no recurrence during the follow-up of 36.4 months (10-116 months).


Our findings showed that both surgical methods have similar and satisfactory results. Although transthoracic approach was preferred in previous cases, the transabdominal approach was preferred in later ones because we assumed that the later procedure is less invasive for the patient. We prefer and propose the abdominal approach for the surgical management of Morgagni hernias.

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