Omphalocele—Child

How to Say It: uhm-fa-lo-seal

Definition

Omphalocele is a birth defect. It is a gap in the muscles and skin where the belly button should be. Abdominal tissue and organs push through the gap to the outside of the body. They are contained in a sac.

Normal Anatomy of the Abdominal Organs

nucleus fact sheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

The cause is not known. It may be due to a mix of genes and the environment.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in girls.

The risk of this problem is higher in women who are pregnant and:

  • Take certain medicines, such as asthma medicine and antidepressants
  • Smoke
  • Drinking alcohol

Being overweight or obese before pregnancy also raises the risk.

Symptoms

An omphalocele will be seen around the belly button.

Diagnosis

Omphalocele may be suspected during a fetal ultrasound. After birth, an omphalocele can be found by viewing it.

Treatment

The defect will need to be repaired. Choices are:

Medication

Organs can sometimes be harmed. There may also be some problems with digestion. Medicines that may help are:

  • Dextrose and electrolyte solutions for nutrition and hydration
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible

Surgery

The goal of surgery is to put the tissue back in place and close the wall. The type of surgery will depend on the degree of the omphalocele.

Large defects may need many surgeries over a longer period of time.

Prevention

A woman can lower the risk of this problem in her baby by:

  • Reaching a healthy weight before becoming pregnant
  • Talking to the doctor about medicines taken during pregnancy, especially asthma medicine and antidepressants
  • Not smoking
  • Not drinking alcohol

RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

March of Dimes Canada
http://www.marchofdimes.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References:

Facts about omphalocele. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed November 5, 2020.
Gamba P, Midrio P. Abdominal wall defects: prenatal diagnosis, newborn management, and long-term outcomes. Semin Pediatr Surg. 2014 Oct;23(5):283-290.
Omphalocele. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/omphalocele. Accessed November 5, 2020.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 11/5/2020

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

advertisement