Fetal abdominal wall defects

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2014 Apr;28(3):391-402. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Dec 3.


The most common fetal abdominal wall defects are gastroschisis and omphalocele, both with a prevalence of about three in 10,000 births. Prenatal ultrasound has a high sensitivity for these abnormalities already at the time of the first-trimester nuchal scan. Major unrelated defects are associated with gastroschisis in about 10% of cases, whereas omphalocele is associated with chromosomal or genetic abnormalities in a much higher proportion of cases. Challenges in management of gastroschisis are related to the prevention of late intrauterine death, and the prediction and treatment of complex forms. With omphalocele, the main difficulty is the exclusion of associated conditions, not all diagnosed prenatally. An outline of the postnatal treatment of abdominal wall defects is given. Other rarer forms of abdominal wall defects are pentalogy of Cantrell, omphalocele, bladder exstrophy, imperforate anus, spina bifida complex, prune-belly syndrome, body stalk anomaly, and bladder and cloacal exstrophy; they deserve multidisciplinary counselling and management.

Keywords: OEIS complex; body stalk anomaly; cloaca; exstrophy; first trimester; gastroschisis; mode of delivery; neonatal surgery; omphalocele; pentalogy of Cantrell; prenatal ultrasound; prune-belly syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / abnormalities*
  • Abdominal Wall / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnostic imaging*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Gastroschisis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gastroschisis / genetics
  • Gastroschisis / therapy
  • Hernia, Umbilical / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hernia, Umbilical / genetics
  • Hernia, Umbilical / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal*