Treatments for Omphalocele in Children

How is an omphalocele treated?

It depends on the size and severity of your child's omphalocele.

  • "Small" omphalocele- Shortly after birth, an operation is done to return your baby's organs to the abdomen and close the opening in the abdominal wall.
  • "Large" omphalocele - The repair is done in "stages" and may include the following:
    • Sterile, protective sheeting is placed over your baby's abdominal organs.
    • Because the abdomen may be small and underdeveloped, it may not be able to hold all of it gains at once.
    • Therefore, the exposed organs are gradually moved back into the abdomen over several days or weeks.
    • The abdominal wall is closed surgically once it gains have been returned to the abdominal cavity.

Because the abdominal cavity may be small and underdeveloped, and t gains may be swollen, a baby may have breathing difficulties as t gains are returned to the abdomen. Your baby may need help from a breathing machine called a mechanical ventilator while the swelling is decreasing and the size of the abdominal cavity is increasing.

What is the long-term outlook for a baby born with an omphalocele?

Babies who have damage to the intestines or other abdominal organs may have long-term problems with digestion, elimination, and infection.

Whether your baby has problems in the future often depends on:

  • the size of the omphalocele
  • if there was a loss of blood flow to part of the intestine or other organs
  • the extent of other abnormalities

Your baby's physician will best be able to give you an accurate prognosis.