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Definition of Omphalocele

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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.

Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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