Diaphragmatic herniation following total gastrectomy: review of the long-term experience of a tertiary institution

  • Masayuki UrabeEmail author
  • Shusuke Haruta
  • Yu Ohkura
  • Akikazu Yago
  • Shuhei Koga
  • Tsuyoshi Tanaka
  • Masaki Ueno
  • Harushi Udagawa
Original Article



Diaphragmatic herniation (DH) is a rare but potentially fatal event after total gastrectomy (TG). Despite being life-threatening, risk factors for postoperative DH have yet to be elucidated. We conducted a retrospective analysis to identify clinical characteristics of patients developing DH after TG, along with a comprehensive review of the published literature.


Among 1361 consecutive patients undergoing TG for esophagogastric cancer between 1985 and 2013 in Toranomon Hospital, those requiring surgical intervention for postoperative DH were included. We also conducted a PubMed literature search on DH following TG.


Five patients (four males, one female), with a median age of 68 at DH surgery, were identified. Intervals between TG and DH repair ranged from 2.9 to 189.0 (median, 78.1) months. Four patients had needed emergency surgery. Three patients had undergone open TG and two others laparoscopic TG, suggesting a significantly higher incidence of DH after laparoscopic TG (3/1302 vs. 2/59, p = 0.017). The diaphragmatic crus incision, creating the space for esophagojejunostomy, had been performed in all cases. The literature yielded seven relevant publications (16 patients). Intervals between TG and DH reduction ranged from 2 days to 36 months. All operations for DH had been carried out emergently.


The risk of DH persisted after TG. DH is potentially a very late complication of TG, presenting as a surgical emergency. Laparoscopic TG was suggested to be a risk factor for postgastrectomy DH. Incising the crus might also be a predictor of DH. Measures to prevent DH, e.g., appropriate closure of the crus, would be recommended in minimally invasive TG.


Diaphragmatic hernia Total gastrectomy Gastric cancer Esophagogastric junction cancer Complication Emergency 


Authors’ contributions

M. Urabe and S. Haruta participated in study conception and design, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafting of manuscript; Y. Ohkura participated in acquisition data, analysis and interpretation of data, and drafting of manuscript; and M. Ueno and H. Udagawa participated in acquisition of data, drafting of manuscript, and critical revision of manuscript.

Funding information

No specific grants were received from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors for this research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Disclosures of ethical statements

The institutional review board of Toranomon Hospital approved the research protocol.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gastroenterological SurgeryToranomon HospitalTokyoJapan

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