Laparoscopic repair of giant diaphragmatic hernias: evolving technical aspects and outcomes.
ABSTRACT Laparoscopic repair of giant diaphragmatic hernias (GDH) can be challenging, especially when partial or complete volvulus of the herniated stomach is encountered.
To review our experience with laparoscopic repair of GDH, emphasizing preoperative investigation, technical aspects, and outcome.
We conducted a retrospective review of patients operated on for GDH who were diagnosed when at least half the stomach was found in the mediastinum at surgery. Technical aspects and surgical outcomes were evaluated.
Fifty patients underwent laparoscopic GDH repair during an 8 year period. Four patients admitted with acute symptomatic volvulus of the stomach were initially treated by endoscopic decompression followed by surgery during the same admission. Two cases were converted to open surgery. Initial surgery was successful in 45 patients; 3 had an immediate recurrence, 1 was reoperated for dysphagia during the same admission, and 1 had a mediastinal abscess. During long-term follow-up, six patients required reoperation for recurrent hernias. Another four patients had asymptomatic partial herniation of the stomach. The main reason for failure was incomplete reduction of the hernia sac, especially the posterior component. No correlation was found between the type of repair and surgical failure. Most patients who did not undergo an anti-reflux procedure had postoperative reflux unrelated to their preoperative workup.
Laparoscopic repair of GDH is challenging, but practical and safe. It should be the treatment of choice for this potentially life-threatening condition. Careful attention to pitfalls, such as the posterior element of the sac, and routine performance of an anti-reflux procedure are crucial.