Skip to main content

Gastroschisis Repair


What do I need to know about gastroschisis repair?

Gastroschisis repair is surgery to put your baby's intestines and any other organs back into his abdomen. The opening in your baby's abdominal muscles will be closed, if possible. Your baby may have surgery soon after he is born. He may have surgery within 3 to 10 days after birth if he is not strong enough when he is born or if the opening is large. During the time he waits to get stronger, a device called a silo may be used to help move his intestines back into his abdomen. Surgery is then used to close his abdomen.

What will happen during surgery?

  • Your baby will receive general anesthesia to keep him asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your baby's surgeon will check the intestines for damage. He will remove any damaged areas. He will make an incision to make the opening in the muscles bigger. He will move the intestines and any organs back into your baby's abdomen.
  • Your baby's surgeon may place a device called mesh to help repair the defect in the abdominal muscles. The incision will be closed and covered to prevent infection. Your baby's surgeon may use part of the umbilical cord stump to help close the defect. He may use tissue to help create an artificial belly button. Your baby may need more surgery later to fix the muscles in his abdomen that had the opening.

What will happen after surgery?

  • After surgery, your baby may need extra oxygen if he has breathing problems. He may need a machine called a ventilator to breathe for him. A nasogastric (NG) tube will be placed into your baby's nose and guided to his stomach. The NG tube is used to keep your baby's stomach empty and to remove pressure. He will need to be fed through an IV placed in a central vein. He may need this for a few weeks to months until his bowels start working correctly. Your baby will also receive antibiotics to help prevent a bacterial infection. He may also be given pain medicine.
  • When your baby's bowels start working correctly, the NG tube will be used to give him liquids and nutrition directly into his stomach. Breast milk can be pumped and given to your baby through the NG tube. Healthcare providers will help him practice sucking so he can start breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle after he heals.

What are the risks of gastroschisis repair?

Your baby may bleed more than expected during surgery. His organs may be injured during surgery. He may develop an infection or blood clots. His intestines may develop inflammation or a blockage. Damage to the intestines can cause your baby to have trouble digesting food or absorbing nutrition.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.