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What is Omphalocele?

Omphalocele (pronounced OHM-fal-o-seal) is a birth defect that affects the abdominal wall. When the abdominal wall doesn’t form correctly, the bowel and other abdominal organs can be partially within the umbilical cord and covered by a thin membrane.

In a normally developing fetus, as the bowel grows, it will move into the umbilical cord until about 10 weeks, and return to the abdomen by 11 weeks. If the bowel does not move back into the abdomen and stays within the umbilical cord, an omphalocele occurs.

Omphaloceles can range in size from a small hernia with a relatively straightforward repair, to a large defect (commonly called a “giant” omphalocele) that must be repaired in stages.

Babies born with this condition may have other birth defects, such as fetal heart defects, neural tube defects, or genetic disorders.

Some babies born with an omphalocele are otherwise healthy with no other birth defects.

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UR Medicine's Treatments for Omphalocele

When you are facing a pregnancy with a complex condition, just making all the needed appointments can be overwhelming. As part of our care our team of fetal and maternal care coordinators will ensure you receive all the information and support you need before and during delivery at UR Medicine's Golisano Children’s Hospital.

They can help with everything from:

  • Coordinating referrals to UR Medicine experts
  • Navigating appointment schedules
  • Explaining complex testing and test results
  • Planning for delivery
  • Answering questions at any point during your pregnancy

Early diagnosis and planning for delivery is most important. Our team offers a full range of options for evaluation of both you and your baby, including

UR Medicine also offers the Rochester region’s only fetal MRI center, able to evaluate many complex fetal conditions and placenta abnormalities.

Babies born with omphalocele have an increased risk for genetic syndromes. Your MFM will also help coordinate genetic testing.

How Is Omphalocele Treated During Pregnancy?

Our team will follow your pregnancy closely with ultrasounds and fetal monitoring (non-stress testing) to assess your babies well-being and plan for delivery.

Delivery will likely be planned for between 38 and 39 weeks, depending on your and your baby’s

condition. Cesarean delivery is not required for babies with omphalocele, although there is a higher chance of having one.

How Is Omphalocele Treated After Delivery?

Omphalocele requires surgery after birth. This could mean a single surgery, or your baby may require multiple surgeries to slowly guide their abdominal organs in place.

After birth, our pediatric physicians at Golisano Children's Hospital will work closely with other specialists to provide complete care for your infant. By combining areas of expertise, the multidisciplinary team is able to offer safe and effective diagnostic and therapeutic resources.

It is common for babies with omphalocele to have feeding challenges for the first few weeks of life. They may require IV nutrition, as well as admission to the NICU. Pediatric Advanced Nutrition Support (PANS) is a program developed at Golisano Children’s Hospital that specializes in the treatment of children with feeding difficulty and complex nutritional needs.

What Sets Us Apart?

Golisano Children's Hospital's Pediatric Surgeryteam has decades of experience operating on infants and children, and performs approximately 2,000 operative procedures each year with excellent survival rates and outcomes.

Over the past five years, UR Medicine's Maternal-Fetal Care has cared for and evaluated more than 50 fetuses with omphalocele diagnosed in utero. Our OB/GYN ultrasound unit is certified by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine to perform Level II ultrasounds, a more in-depth evaluation.

Our experienced Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and state-of-the-art equipment including 3D/4D capabilities help diagnose omphalocele effectively.

We offer both fetal assessment and fetal monitoring on-site at both of our office locations, allowing the team to have all needed information available.

Maternal-Fetal Medicine Granted AIUM Accreditation 2021-2024


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Reproductive Genetics - Rochester

Lattimore Medical Center
125 Lattimore Road, West Entrance, Suite 150
Rochester, NY 14620

Maternal-Fetal Medicine - Henrietta

500 Red Creek Drive, Suite 210
Rochester, NY 14623

Maternal-Fetal Medicine - Rochester

Lattimore Medical Center
125 Lattimore Road, West Entrance, Suite 150
Rochester, NY 14620

Maternal-Fetal Medicine - Rochester

Highland Perinatal Center
990 South Avenue, Suite 103
Rochester, NY 14620

Maternal-Fetal Medicine - Rochester

Highland Perinatal Center
909 Culver Road
Rochester, NY 14609

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