Korean J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg.  2009 Feb;42(1):115-118.

Pleural Incarceration of the Transverse Colon after Transthoracic Esophagectomy: A case report

  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Seoul Natinal University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 2Center for Lung Cancer, Research Institute and Hospital, National Cancer Center, Korea. thoracic@ncc.re.kr


A 65 year-old man, who underwent transthoracic esophagectomy for mid-thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, suffered from an incarcerated herniation of the transverse colon through a defect in the left mediastinal pleura. The patient had a gas collection in the left lower lung field and this then insidiously progressed; the final result was total collapse of the left lung and hemodynamic compromise. The life-threatening herniation of the transverse colon into the pleural cavity after pervious esophagectomy was corrected by emergency laparotomy. Postoperative pulmonary complications after esophagectomy can induce potentially lethal transhiatal herniation because of the danger of intestinal obstruction or strangulation. The optimal approach to transhiatal herniation after esophagectomy is prevention.


Esophageal cancer; Esophageal surgery; Hernia, hiatal
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