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Radiographics. 2015 Mar-Apr;35(2):636-49. doi: 10.1148/rg.352140104.

Complex abdominal wall defects: appearances at prenatal imaging.

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From the Department of Radiology, University of Utah School of Medicine, 30 North 1900 East, Room 1A071, Salt Lake City, UT 84132-2140.


Abdominal wall defects are a complex group of anomalies, and many are incorrectly diagnosed. Evaluation of the defect relative to the umbilical cord insertion site is fundamentally important in differentiating among the various malformations. The two most common abdominal wall defects are gastroschisis, in which the defect is on the right side of the normally inserting cord and free-floating bowel loops are present, and omphalocele, in which the cord inserts on a membrane-covered midline defect. Omphalocele may also form a portion of a more complex defect that may remain undiagnosed without thorough evaluation. In cloacal exstrophy, the defect extends inferiorly and the bowel loops extrude between the two bladder halves. In pentalogy of Cantrell, the defect extends superiorly and is typically associated with ectopia cordis. Bladder exstrophy is a lower abdominal defect in which the hallmark finding is absence of a fluid-filled bladder. The cord insertion site is normal to low but does not form part of the defect. Both body stalk anomaly and abdominoschisis due to amniotic bands cause severe malformations, often involving extrusion of solid organs and the bowel. Although these two entities have many overlapping features, body stalk anomaly may be recognized on the basis of absence of a free-floating umbilical cord. With use of an algorithmic approach beginning with discovery of the location of the defect, a more precise diagnosis can be determined that may directly affect pre- and postnatal management decisions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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