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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2011 Jun;16(3):164-72. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

Neonatal abdominal wall defects.

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Division of General and Thoracic Surgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Gastroschisis and omphalocele are the two most common congenital abdominal wall defects. Both are frequently detected prenatally due to routine maternal serum screening and fetal ultrasound. Prenatal diagnosis may influence timing, mode and location of delivery. Prognosis for gastroschisis is primarily determined by the degree of bowel injury, whereas prognosis for omphalocele is related to the number and severity of associated anomalies. The surgical management of both conditions consists of closure of the abdominal wall defect, while minimizing the risk of injury to the abdominal viscera either through direct trauma or due to increased intra-abdominal pressure. Options include primary closure or a variety of staged approaches. Long-term outcome is favorable in most cases; however, significant associated anomalies (in the case of omphalocele) or intestinal dysfunction (in the case of gastroschisis) may result in morbidity and mortality.

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