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What is omphalocele?

Omphalocele is a birth defect in which organs that are normally inside the body develop on the outside, instead, because of an opening near the umbilical cord.

The condition can range in severity, from mild to catastrophic, but typically is larger defect and more dangerous than gastroschisis.

A small-type omphalocele involves only a small piece of the intestine poking through a hole in the abdomen. A large-type of the condition occurs when several of the major organs, such as the intestines, liver, spleen, testes and ovaries, appear outside the body.

Omphalocele, also known as exomphalos, is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The infant’s intestines, liver or other organs stick outside of the belly through the belly button. The organs are covered in a thin, nearly transparent sac that hardly ever is open or broken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year about 775 babies in the United States are born with an omphalocele, or about one out of every 5,386 babies.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.