Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Diaphragm Hernia Anatomy

To better understand diaphragmatic hernia, it helps to understand the anatomy of the gastrointestinal tract.

The diaphragm is a pair of thin muscles between the abdomen and the chest. This muscle expands the lungs during breathing. The esophagus normally passes through this muscle to the stomach.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that pushes food to the stomach. The stomach is a large pouch that receives food from a meal. The stomach slowly pushes the food into the small intestine, which absorbs nutrients from the food. The food passes through the small intestine and into the large intestine, which absorbs water from the food. The small intestine is about 18 feet (3.5 m) long and the large intestine is about 5 feet (1.5 m) long.

Gastrointestinal anatomy:

  • Esophagus and stomach
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract

Last Updated: Dec 9, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Diaphragm Hernia References
  1. Aly A, Watson DI. Diaphragmatic hernia after minimally invasive esophagectomy. Dis Esophagus. 2004;17(2):183-6. [15230737]
  2. Fukamizu R, Hayashi S. Images in clinical medicine. Diaphragmatic hernia. N Engl J Med. 2004 Dec 9;351(24):e22. [15590947]
  3. Gosche JR, Islam S, Boulanger SC. Congenital diaphragmatic hernia: searching for answers. Am J Surg. 2005 Aug;190(2):324-32. [16023454]
  4. Kaw LL Jr, Potenza BM, Coimbra R, Hoyt DB. Traumatic diaphragmatic hernia. J Am Coll Surg. 2004 Apr;198(4):668-9. [15072074]
  5. Smith NP, Jesudason EC, Featherstone NC, Corbett HJ, Losty PD. Recent advances in congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Arch Dis Child. 2005 Apr;90(4):426-8. [1578194]
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