Definition of Omphalocele

Omphalocele: A birth defect in which part of the intestine, covered only by a thin transparent membrane, protrudes outside the abdomen at the umbilicus. An omphalocele occurs due to a failure during embryonic development for a section of the intestines (the midgut) to return from outside the abdomen and reenter the abdomen as it should. The opening in the abdominal wall cannot close because to do so would pinch off part of the intestines. An omphalocele must be repaired with surgery.


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