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Omphalocele Repair

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Omphalocele is surgery to put your baby's intestines back into his or her abdomen. The opening in your baby's abdominal muscles will be closed, if possible. Your baby may need more than one surgery to fix the omphalocele. A small omphalocele may be repaired soon after your baby is born. Your baby may need to wait 1 year or more to have a large omphalocele fully repaired if the abdomen is not large enough. Your baby may need to have tissue expanders placed to help widen the abdomen. Your baby will need immediate surgery if the sac covering the intestines breaks.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your baby is not breathing or has breathing problems or wheezing.
  • Your baby's skin or nails are blue.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby has green or yellow vomit.
  • Your baby's abdomen is swollen.
  • Your baby has constipation, blood in a bowel movement, or loses weight.
  • Your baby has apnea (periods of not breathing).

Call your baby's surgeon or doctor if:

  • Your baby has fewer bowel movements than usual or has feeding problems.
  • Your baby is irritable, cries often, or is fussy.
  • You have questions or concerns about your baby's condition or care.


  • Medicines may be given to prevent a bacterial infection or to reduce pain. Ask your baby's healthcare provider how to give pain medicine correctly.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he or she has the flu or a fever and takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin or salicylates.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your baby:

Healthcare providers will show you how to handle, dress, and bathe your baby. They will show you how to change diapers and care for the surgery area. You will learn signs of problems to watch for, such as breathing problems, diarrhea, or constipation.

Follow up with your baby's surgeon or doctor as directed:

Your baby will need ongoing growth and development tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

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