Open Access Open Badges Research article

Experimental investigation of the elasticity of the human diaphragm

Gerhard Steinau1*, Christian Hohl2, Andreas Prescher3, Daniel Kaemmer1 and Gabriele Böhm1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, University Hospital Aachen Pauwellsstr 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

2 Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology HELIOS Hospital Siegburg, Ringstr 49, 53721 Siegburg, Germany

3 Institute for Anatomy, University Hospital Aachen, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

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BMC Surgery 2010, 10:5  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-10-5

Published: 30 January 2010



Traumatic diaphragmatic ruptures affect mainly the left side. In an experimental study in human corpses we examined the stretch behaviour of the left and right diaphragmatic halves.


In a total of 8 male and 8 female corpses each diaphragmatic half was divided into 4 different segments. Each segments stretch behaviour was investigated. In steps of 2 N the stretch was increased up to 24 N.


In the female the left diaphragm showed a stronger elasticity compared to the right. Additionally the left diaphragm in females showed a higher elasticity in comparison to the left in males. Traumatic diaphragmatic ruptures affect mostly the central tendineous part or the junction between tendineous and muscular part of the diaphragmatic muscle. Accordingly we found a lower elasticity in these parts compared with the other diaphragmatic segments.


In summary it can be said that albeit some restrictions we were able to determine the elasticity of different diaphragmatic segments quantitatively and reproduceably with our presented method. Thereby a comparison of results of different diaphragmatic segments as well as of both diaphragmatic halves and of both genders was possible