Exomphalos is a birth disorder in which the contents of the abdomen,
mainly the bowel and liver, herniate into a loose sac that surrounds the umbilical cord.
is a rare congenital abnormality affecting
approximately 1 out of every 5,000 live births. The word 'exomphalos
' literally means 'outside the navel
a birth disorder in which the abdominal contents herniate into the umbilical
cord through the umbilical ring. It is also called as an omphalocele.
During fetal development, the intestines are located outside the
abdomen. They return to the abdomen around the 10th
pregnancy, which is followed by closure of the abdominal wall. In babies with
exomphalos, the abdominal wall does not develop properly and the bowels and
sometimes the liver remain outside the abdominal cavity, where they are
contained in a loose sac around the umbilical cord. The abdominal cavity often
does not develop properly and remains small in size, as most of its contents
are lying outside in the sac.
Almost half the babies with exomphalos have problems affecting
other body systems. Exomphalos has been linked to abnormalities of the heart,
lungs and kidneys, as well as genetic abnormalities like trisomy 18.
Prenatal diagnosis of
exomphalos is possible through an ultrasound examination. However, not all
cases are confirmed before birth. If a confirmation was made during the
prenatal period, a cesarean section is recommended for a safe delivery.
Treatment options include surgery to remove the
sac and replace the herniated organs within the
abdominal cavity where they belong.
Regular follow-ups are required to monitor the baby’s progress.