Phrenic nerve paralysis after bipolar electrocoagulation of endometriosis of the diaphragm: case report and mini review

Case Reports

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 2, P157-162, JUNE 01, 2022


Anna Lena Zippl, M.D., Wan Syahirah Yang Mohsin, M.D., Elisabeth Gasser, M.D., Benjamin Henninger, M.D., Andreas Widschwendter, M.D., Reinhold Kafka, M.D., Beata Seeber, M.D., M.S.C.E. 



To present a case of persistent postoperative elevation of the right hemidiaphragm after bipolar electrocoagulation of diaphragmatic endometriosis, highly likely because of collateral thermal damage to key branches of the phrenic nerve, and review the literature on diaphragmatic endometriosis, focusing on operative treatment.


Case report and mini review.


Single university-based interdisciplinary endometriosis center.


A 33-year-old nulliparous patient, initially presenting with right-sided shoulder and back pain accompanied by severe dysmenorrhea and diarrhea. Written consent for the use of anonymized data and images for research purposes was obtained.


Laparoscopic surgery with bipolar electrocoagulation of multiple superficial endometriotic lesions on the right hemidiaphragm and excision of bilateral deep infiltrating endometriosis on the sacrouterine ligaments.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Outcome and complication of surgical treatment of diaphragmatic endometriosis.


Three weeks after surgical treatment, the patient complained of exertional dyspnea and pain in the right flank. Imaging showed a postoperative elevation of the right hemidiaphragm, which did not resolve over the following 6 months. We suspect collateral thermal damage to key branches of the phrenic nerve after bipolar electrocoagulation of extensive superficial diaphragmatic lesions.


During laparoscopic treatment of diaphragmatic endometriosis, bipolar electrocoagulation should be used sparingly and with caution to avoid potentially damaging the phrenic nerve.

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