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Gastroschisis Repair

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

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

What will happen during surgery?

  • Your baby will receive general anesthesia to keep him or her asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your baby's surgeon will check the intestines for damage. He or she will remove any damaged areas. He or she will make an incision to make the opening in the muscles bigger. He or she 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 or she may use tissue to help create an artificial belly button. Your baby may need more surgery later to fix the muscles in his or her abdomen that had the opening.

What will happen after surgery?

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

What are the risks of gastroschisis repair?

Your baby may bleed more than expected during surgery. His or her organs may be injured during surgery. He or she may develop an infection or blood clots. His or her 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.

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Further information

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