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Hernias occur as a result of weak spots inside the body that enable the contents of the body to be displaced from their original position.

Bochdalek and hiatal hernias occur as a result of weak diaphragmatic muscles.

In a Bochdalek hernia, the abdominal contents herniate through the foramen of Bochdalek which is situated in the diaphragm. In a hiatal hernia, the abdominal contents herniate through the esophageal hiatus.

Though both Bochdalek and hiatal hernia are diaphragmatic hernias they are quite different from each other in some aspects.

Bochdalek Hernia Vs Hiatal Hernia



Bochdalek hernias are prominently congenital, i.e., they are associated with birth.

Hiatal hernias are both congenital and acquired. They develop mostly during adulthood.

Herniation occurs via the foramen of Bochdalek.

Herniation occurs via the esophageal hiatus.

The omentum, intestine and other abdominal contents herniate.

The stomach herniates to the thoracic cavity most of the time.

Bochdalek hernia occurs mostly on the life side of the diaphragm, especially toward the back.

A hiatal hernia occurs in the esophageal channel.

Bochdalek hernia is almost invisible on the surface of the body.

Hiatal hernias are also invisible on the surface of the body.

The abdominal contents move into the thoracic cavity in the case of Bochdalek hernia.

The abdominal contents move into the thoracic cavity in the case of hiatal hernia as well.

Can turn fatal.

Hiatal hernia is fatal.

Can cause intestinal obstruction and complicate digestion function.

Can cause obstruction, incarceration, and strangulation of the abdominal contents.

Can be asymptomatic.

Is occasionally asymptomatic.

Must be repaired as quickly as possible.

Must be repaired immediately on diagnosis to prevent adverse scenarios.

Laparoscopy is widely employed to repair Bochdalek hernia.

Laparoscopy and laparotomy can be used to repair a hiatal hernia.

Named after the Czech pathologist, Vincent Alexander Bochdalek.

Named after the association of esophageal hiatus in this case.

Symptoms of Bochdalek and Hiatal Hernia

The symptoms of a Bochdalek hernia and a hiatal hernia are more or less similar to one another.



Abdominal pain

Abdominal pain

Chest pain

Chest pain



Difficulty in swallowing food

Difficulty in swallowing food







Shortness of breath

Chronic heartburn

Discoloration of skin covering the hernia region.

Gastric volvulus

Causes of Bochdalek and Hiatal Hernia

Bochdalek hernias are congenital typically. When the diaphragm does not develop completely during the embryonic stage it can result in a Bochdalek hernia. Hiatal hernias on the other hand are usually acquired.

The other factors that could cause Bochdalek and hiatal hernia include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Blunt injuries
  • Surgical interventions
  • Chronic coughs
  • Chronic constipation
  • Strenuous activities, etc.

Treatment for Bochdalek and Hiatal Hernia

Both Bochdalek and hiatal hernias require surgical intervention as they can get complicated very easily.

A proper diagnosis of Bochdalek and hiatal hernia is first employed followed by the preparation for surgery.

Bochdalek is usually repaired via laparoscopy. A hiatal hernia can be repaired either through laparoscopy or through laparotomy.

The choice of surgery depends upon factors such as the patient’s age, health condition, severity of the hernia, and the suggestion of the surgeon.


Bochdalek and hiatal hernias can pose a serious threat to one’s health. Therefore, it is important to repair them as soon as possible via surgery.

There are modern surgical techniques available to treat both Bochdalek and hiatal hernias. These techniques include quick recovery, less pain, and a higher success rate.

Therefore, visit a hernia specialist as quickly as possible if you encounter any symptoms of Bochdalek or hiatal hernia.

To know more about diaphragmatic hernias like Bochdalek and hiatal hernia, consult a hernia specialist.


What are the two main types of hiatal hernias?

Sliding hernia and paraesophageal hernia are the two main types of hiatal hernias.

What is the triangle of Bochdalek?

The lumbocostal triangle situated in the diaphragm is called the Bochdalek’s triangle or the foramen of Bochdalek.

Can an adult have a left Bochdalek hernia?

Congenital Bochdalek hernias are prominent. Acquiring Bochdalek hernias later in life is less common. Yet adults still can incur a Bochdalek hernia that occurs mostly on the left side of the diaphragm.

Dr. K. Amilthan MBBS., MS., FMAS., FALS.

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