Diaphragm Plication

Also known as: plication of the diaphragm.

What is diaphragm plication?

Eventration of the diaphragm is a birth defect that involves the diaphragm not working properly due to it being an abnormal shape or at the wrong elevation. This issue causes breathing difficulties and other problems. Diaphragm plication is a surgical procedure to lower and repair the diaphragm.

What happens during the procedure?

Diaphragm plication is performed either with an open surgery or thoracoscopically (with robotic instruments). Either way, the procedure involves pushing the diaphragm down into the abdomen and using sutures to establish it in its new position. Tying off the sutures helps to hold the diaphragm in its new position.

Is any special preparation needed?

Diaphragm plication is a major surgery performed under general anesthesia. The child may need to abstain from food, drinks and certain medications for a period of time before the surgery.

What are the risk factors?

Complications are very rare in this procedure. Risks of diaphragm plication include bleeding, fluid from the chest that does not subside over time, injury to the intraabdominal organs, injury to the lung tissue, respiratory failure, stroke and injury to the pericardium/heart.

Diaphragm plication at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital: Diaphragm plication is a complex surgery, but the pediatric surgeons and pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital are well trained in the procedure and produce good outcomes.

Reviewed by: Bhavi Patel, DO

This page was last updated on: April 30, 2021 11:53 AM

The Heart Institute: Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery

The Heart Institute – a world leader in pediatric cardiology and cardiovascular surgery and the care of children with congenital heart disorders – serves as a beacon to families confronting the reality of a child or newborn with a heart defect.

Learn More