Gastroschisis

Definition:  A herniation of the abdominal contents through a defect in the abdominal wall. 

Causes, incidence, concept, and risk factors:  A Gastroschisis is similar to an omphalocele in appearance. The two conditions differ in that an omphalocele is a herniation of the abdominal contents through the umbilical cord and is covered with peritoneum (the abdominal membrane); while a Gastroschisis is a herniation through the abdominal wall (usually near the cord) but not involving the cord and the herniation is not covered with peritoneum.

As in omphalocele, the abdominal cavity may be small and replacement of the bowel into the cavity may require several days in which the abdominal cavity is gently stretched to accommodate the mass. 

Signs and tests:  Physical examination of the infant is sufficient for the health care provider to diagnose Gastroschisis. The mother may have shown signs indicating excessive amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios). 

Treatment: The bowel is surgically replaced in the abdomen and the defect closed if there is adequate room. If the abdominal cavity is too small, a sack is sutured around the margins of the abdominal
defect and the edges of the defect are pulled up. Gravity draws the herniated intestine back into the abdominal cavity, slowly stretching it to the point where the defect can be closed. 

Expectations (prognosis): Recovery is good if the abdominal cavity is relatively large enough. A very small abdominal cavity may result in complications requiring additional surgery. 

Complications: Respiratory distress (the misplaced abdominal contents can cause difficulty with expansion of the lungs), bowel death (necrosis).

As with any procedure we perform, your child's safety and well-being our #1 priority.  As always, feel free to contact us with any question that you have.  We would be happy to answer it for you.