Minimal access surgery for congenital diaphragmatic hernia: surgical tricks to facilitate anchoring the patches to the ribs

Pediatr Surg Int. 2023 Feb 20;39(1):135. doi: 10.1007/s00383-022-05303-y.


Objective: Minimal Access Surgery (MAS) for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) repair is well described, yet only a minority of surgeons report this as their preferred operative approach. Some surgeons find it particularly difficult to repair the defect using MAS and convert to laparotomy when a patch is required. We present in this study our institutional experience in using an easy and relatively cheap methodology to anchor the patch around the ribs using Endo Close™. This device has an application in MAS for tissue approximation using percutaneous suturing.

Methods and technique: We retrospectively reviewed our database for patients undergoing MAS repair of CDH between 2009 and 2021. Outcome measures included length of surgery and recurrence rates after patch repair. Endo Close™ was used in all patients who required patch repair. We declare no conflict of interest and to not having received any funding from Medtronic (UK). The technique is as follows: (1) The edges of the diaphragm are delineated by dissection. When primary suture repair of the diaphragmatic hernia was unfeasible without tension, a patch was used. (2) The patch is anchored in place by two corner stitches at the medial and lateral borders. (3) The posterior border of the patch is fixed to the diaphragmatic edge by running or interrupted stitches. (4) For securing the anterior border, a non-absorbable suture is passed through the anterior chest wall and the patch border is taken with intracorporeal instruments. (5) Without making another stab incision, the Endo Close™ is tunnelled subcutaneously through the anterior chest wall. (6) The suture end is pulled through the Endo Close™ and the knot is tied around the rib. This procedure can be performed as many times as required to secure the patch.

Results: 58 patients underwent MAS surgery for repair of CDH between 2009 and 2021. 48 (82%) presented with a left defect. 34 (58%) had a patch repair. The length of patch repair surgery for CDH ranged from 100-343 min (median 197). There was only one patient (3%) in the patch repair cohort that had a recurrent hernia, diagnosed 12 months after the initial surgery.

Conclusions: In our experience, MAS repair of CDH is feasible. We adopted a low threshold in using a patch to achieve a tension-free repair. We believe that the Endo Close™ is a cheap and safe method to help securing the patch around the ribs.

Keywords: Congenital; Diaphragmatic hernia; Endo close; Patch; Thoracoscopic.

MeSH terms

  • Hernias, Diaphragmatic, Congenital* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ribs / surgery