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Cleft lip and palate
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
Gingivitis and periodontitis
Dental caries disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Diffuse esophageal spasm
Eosinophilic esophagitis (NORD)
Gastric dumping syndrome
Cyclic vomiting syndrome
Small bowel bacterial overgrowth syndrome
Short bowel syndrome (NORD)
Protein losing enteropathy
Small bowel ischemia and infarction
Familial adenomatous polyposis
Juvenile polyposis syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome
Diverticulosis and diverticulitis
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Cholestatic liver disease
Alcohol-induced liver disease
Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency
Primary biliary cirrhosis
Primary sclerosing cholangitis
Benign liver tumors
Pancreatic neuroendocrine neoplasms
Congenital gastrointestinal disorders: Pathology review
Esophageal disorders: Pathology review
GERD, peptic ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancer: Pathology review
Inflammatory bowel disease: Pathology review
Malabsorption syndromes: Pathology review
Diverticular disease: Pathology review
Appendicitis: Pathology review
Gastrointestinal bleeding: Pathology review
Colorectal polyps and cancer: Pathology review
Neuroendocrine tumors of the gastrointestinal system: Pathology review
Pancreatitis: Pathology review
Gallbladder disorders: Pathology review
Jaundice: Pathology review
Viral hepatitis: Pathology review
Cirrhosis: Pathology review
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Tanner Marshall, MS
With an omphalocele, omphalo- refers to the naval, also known as the bellybutton—or more formally the umbilicus—which is the attachment site of the umbilical cord, and -cele relates to hernia or swelling.
Omphalocele, therefore, is when some of the bowels herniate out into the umbilical cord.
During the fourth week of fetal development, the embryo starts to change shape from a flat, three-layer disc to something more shaped like a cylinder, a process called embryonic folding.
In the horizontal plane, the two lateral folds eventually come together and close off at the midline, except for at the umbilicus, where the umbilical cord connects the fetus to the placenta.
This folding allows for the formation of the gut within the abdominal cavity.
During around the sixth week of development, the liver and intestines grow really quickly, and because the abdominal cavity’s still pretty small, there’s limited space, which causes the midgut to herniate through the umbilical ring into the umbilical cord, and this happens normally.
At about week 10, though, the abdominal cavity typically has grown enough to allow the midgut to come back from the umbilical cord.
With omphalocele, the midgut—along with potentially other organs from the abdominal cavity—fail to return back to the abdominal cavity, and therefore stay in the umbilical cord all the way through fetal development and even after birth.
Now, since the intestines and potentially other organs aren’t meant to be in the umbilical cord, there can be complications like the abdominal cavity not growing to its normal size, as well as pinched blood vessels and loss of blood flow to an organ.
So with an omphalocele, after birth the abdominal organs protrude out of the body, but are contained within the umbilical cord, meaning the organs are sealed by a peritoneal layer.
An omphalocele is an abdominal wall birth defect in which the intestines, liver, and occasionally other organs remain outside of the abdomen in a sac, as a result of a defect in the development of the muscles of the abdominal wall. The sac, which is formed from an outpouching of the peritoneum, protrudes in the midline through the umbilicus.
Omphalocele shouldn't be confused with another condition called gastroschisis, which also involves the herniation of abdominal contents out of the abdominal cavity. Unlike in omphalocele, herniated bowels in gastroschisis lack a peritoneal layer covering.
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