Gastroschisis, Newborn
Gastroschisis, Newborn

Gastroschisis, Newborn

Gastroschisis is a birth defect where there is a hole in your baby's abdomen. Gastroschisis happens early in pregnancy when the abdominal wall fails to close. The opening in the abdominal wall may be small or large. It usually develops beside the belly button (umbilicus).
If your baby is born with this defect, parts of your baby's stomach, small intestine, and large intestine may be outside the abdomen. The stomach and intestines are most commonly affected. In some cases, other abdominal organs are also on the outside of the abdomen. The intestines may also become twisted, shortened, or swollen.

What are the causes?

The cause of this birth defect is not known.

What increases the risk?

This condition may be more likely to occur in a baby whose mother:
  • Is less than 20 years old.
  • Smoked, drank alcohol, or used drugs during pregnancy.
  • Had poor nutrition during pregnancy.
  • Took certain medications during pregnancy.
  • Had a urinary infection early in pregnancy.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed:
  • Before birth, when your health care provider sees the hole during a routine ultrasound.
  • Soon after birth, during your baby's first physical exam.

How is this treated?

This condition is treated with surgery to place the abdominal contents into the abdomen. Surgery is done soon after birth. If the hole is large or if all of the abdominal contents cannot fit inside the abdomen, surgery may be done in stages using the silo technique.
The silo technique involves inserting small parts of the stomach or intestine into the abdomen every day for about 5–7 days. This technique allows the abdomen to grow and make room for the abdominal contents. A cover (silo) is placed over the stomach and intestines during this time to protect them until they are placed back in the abdomen. Once the stomach and intestines are inside the abdomen, the hole in the abdominal wall will be surgically repaired.

Summary

  • Gastroschisis is a birth defect where there is a hole in your baby's abdomen.
  • If your baby is born with this defect, parts of your baby's stomach, small intestine, and large intestine may be outside the abdomen.
  • The cause of this birth defect is not known.
  • This condition is treated with surgery to place the abdominal contents into the abdomen. In some cases, surgery may be done over the course of 5–7 days.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.