Gastroschisis repair is surgery to close a gap in the abdominal wall. The gap is caused by a birth defect called a gastroschisis.
With a gastroschisis, the muscles and skin of the abdominal wall of a fetus do not close fully. As a result, abdominal tissue and organs can pass to the outside of the body.
Surgery is needed soon after birth to put the organs inside the body and repair the gap. More than one surgery may be needed. It depends on the size of the gap.
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Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
General anesthesia will be used. Your baby will be asleep.
The extent of the surgery depends on the size of the gastroschisis. General steps may be:
Intestines may be swollen and hard to put back into the abdominal cavity or there may not be enough room to fit them all in at first. Some intestine may be left outside of the abdomen and covered in a protective plastic device. The device will slowly push the intestines back into the abdomen as the swelling goes down or the abdominal cavity enlarges. More surgery will be needed to complete the repair and close the skin.
The baby will be taken to a recovery room and monitored.
It depends on how much repair is needed.
Pain and swelling are common. Medicine and home care can help.
The length of stay depends on the repairs that were done. This may take 1 to 2 months.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, the staff may give your baby:
During your baby's stay, staff will take steps to lower the chance of infection, such as:
You can also lower your baby's chance of infection by:
Recovery may take some time and require a special diet. The doctor will monitor the baby’s growth and overall health to make sure the baby is getting the right amount of nutrition.
Call the doctor if your child is not getting better or has:
Call for emergency medical services right away if your baby has:
If you think your baby is having an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
March of Dimes
March of Dimes Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
About gastroschisis. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available as: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/gastroschisis/about#.VPuPR46j99k. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Facts about gastroschisis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available as: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/Gastroschisis.html. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Gastroschisis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gastroschisis. Accessed November 4, 2020.
Skarsgard ED. Management of gastroschisis. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2016 Jun;28(3):363-369.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD Last Updated: 5/11/2021