The Diaphragm: Introduction and Basics

  • Willem Nicolaas WelvaartEmail author
  • Marinus A. Paul


The diaphragm (Greek: dia = between; phragma = fence) is a musculoaponeurotic structure that separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities [1]. It is, however, not just “the thoracic floor” but the most important muscle of respiration [2] and also plays an important role in preventing gastroesophageal reflux. Impairment of diaphragmatic function can have major physiological consequences. Many of these impairments are amenable for surgical correction, but correct diagnosis and treatment require thorough understanding of form and function. The old maxim: “Let them never forget that without anatomy there is no physiology, no surgery, no medicine” holds true also for the diaphragm [3].


Phrenic Nerve Body Wall Muscle Transverse Septum Phrenic Nerve Stimulation Phrenic Nerve Palsy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryRivierland Ziekenhuis TielTielThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryVU University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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