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How is a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) repaired surgically?

A congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is most commonly repaired through the abdomen using an incision just below the rib cage. Depending on the size of the hole the surgeon may be able to stitch the hole closed using a primary repair, or, when the defect is too large, using a piece of mesh to patch the hole closed.

Surgeons may use the baby’s own, healthy tissue to close the hole to reduce the chance of the hernia coming back. Surgeons may use a muscle from the baby’s abdomen to close the hole of larger defects. In babies that have well-developed lungs and are more stable, surgeons may use a minimally invasive approach to repair the hernia. In this case, small incisions are made on the chest wall and the hernia can be fixed this way.

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