Thoracic Surgery

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Diseases & Conditions

Diseases of the Diaphragm

The Division of Thoracic Surgery at Boston Medical Center treats a wide variety of conditions with the skill and compassion for which we are known, including diseases of the diaphragm. Our team of dedicated surgeons and nurses is here for you and your family. We’ll work diligently to treat you in the most effective way possible, help minimize your pain and start you on the path to recovery.

What are Diseases of the Diaphragm?

The diaphragm, the main muscle involved in breathing, separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities. When you inhale, it decreases pressure in the lungs and helps expand the rib cage. As with any organ or muscle, the diaphragm is subject to disorders and abnormalities, which come in many different forms and can stem from injury or illness. The overall number of disorders of the diaphragm isn’t known, but there are estimates for disorders that are due to specific problems; for example, about 11 percent of people have a disorder related to the diaphragm after heart surgery.

Diagnostic Procedures

What are Symptoms of Diaphragm Diseases?

Symptoms vary based on the disorder, but may include:

What are the Causes?

Causes of diseases of the diaphragm vary, but they are usually a result of problems with the anatomy or the neurologic system, such as:

How are Diaphragm Diseases Diagnosed?

Your physician first will take your history and do a physical examination. Listening to your heart and breathing can often provide a great deal of information. Sometimes blood oxygen is measured through testing arterial blood gas.
Other tests may include:

How are Diseases of the Diaphragm Treated?

We will work with you and your family to make the most appropriate treatment decision, which may include one or more of the following therapies:

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Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382

Boston Medical Center
Center for Thoracic Surgery
Moakley Building
830 Harrison Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118

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Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382

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88 East Newton Street
Robinson B-402
Boston, MA 02118
Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382

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