Background/purpose: Several techniques are described for closure of the gastroschisis abdominal wall defect. The authors describe a technique that allows for spontaneous closure that is simple, cosmetically appealing, and minimizes intraabdominal pressure after bowel reduction.
Methods: Under either general anesthetic or analgesia with sedation, the gastroschisis bowel is decompressed, and the bowel is primarily reduced. The gastroschisis defect is covered with the umbilical cord tailored to fit the opening, and 2 Tegaderm (3M Healthcare, MN) dressings reinforce the defect ("plastic closure"). Intragastric pressure is monitored during and after the procedure. If primary reduction is not possible, the bowel is reduced daily via a spring-loaded silo (Bentec Medical, CA). After reduction of the bowel, the defect is allowed to close spontaneously using the "plastic closure" technique. The authors prospectively treated a cohort of patients with gastroschisis that included simple to complex cases using this technique.
Results: Ten children with gastroschisis were treated; 6 of these children had a primary reduction and simple closure of their defect using the "plastic closure." In the remaining 4 children, the plastic closure was used either primarily or secondarily to silo placement, despite the need for repair of complex intestinal anomalies. The average times to first feeding and discharge were 12.5 and 28.3 days, respectively. Six of the 10 children (60%) had small umbilical hernias, and only 1 underwent operative repair at 13 months of age.
Conclusions: The plastic closure of gastroschisis is simple, safe, and cosmetically appealing. Intraabdominal pressures are well controlled, and the umbilical position remains centrally located in this sutureless technique. Umbilical defects can occur but are observed for spontaneous closure like most primary umbilical hernias.