Abdominal Wall Abnormalities

Also known as: abdominal wall defect, omphalocele, gastroschisis

What are abdominal wall abnormalities?

When an infant has a birth defect that involves an opening in the abdomen, this is known as an abdominal wall abnormality or abdominal wall defect. Often, certain organs (stomach, intestines or other organs) can protrude through this unusual opening, which can lead to health complications. There are two main types of abdominal wall defects; omphalocele and gastroschisis.

What causes abdominal wall abnormalities? 
The cause of abdominal wall abnormalities is often related to genetics. Some individuals have extra chromosomes in their cells. However, most causes of abdominal wall abnormalities are sporadic, occurring occasionally without a family history.

What are the symptoms of abdominal wall abnormalities? 

Abdominal wall openings can usually be detected by ultrasound examination before birth. Most mothers do not have any noticeable symptoms.  In addition to the physical signs seen after birth, babies with abdominal wall abnormalities often have low birth weight, problems with digestion and breathing difficulties.

What are abdominal wall abnormalities care options? 

Most abdominal wall abnormalities can be repaired surgically early in life. Once the repair is made successfully, these children can  go on to live healthy lives if there are no other serious congenital abnormalities present.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 2/23/2017 9:49:27 AM

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