Digestive and Gastrointestinal Conditions


What is gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis (gas-troh-SKEE-sis) occurs when there is a hole in the muscles and skin that cover a baby’s belly. The baby's intestines — and sometimes other organs — poke through this hole, leaving them outside the body at birth. Pregnant mothers probably will not notice any symptoms before their baby is born.

Gastroschisis is sometimes confused with a more serious birth defect called omphalocele. Unlike gastroschisis, omphalocele often involves several organs that are in a sac outside the belly. Children with omphalocele often also have other associated birth defects, while most children with gastroschisis do not.

Gastroschisis in Children

Gastroschisis affects 1 to 2 in 10,000 children in the United States. Doctors don’t know what causes it.

Gastroschisis at Seattle Children’s

Gastroschisis treatment often starts in our Prenatal Diagnosis and Treatment Program. Our prenatal team helps families and their obstetricians get ready for the birth and plan for surgery to put the baby’s intestines back in their belly.

We usually see at least 20 babies with gastroschisis each year. Our staff includes experts in gastroschisis treatment. Our surgeons and neonatologists have extensive experience in caring for babies with complex problems like gastroschisis. Our surgery team has performed hundreds of surgeries to fix gastroschisis. For many babies, our surgeons use a new technique to repair gastroschisis without using stitches and without putting newborns under general anesthesia.

Our surgeons are specially trained in pediatric surgery, which means they understand children’s needs and how their bodies are different from adult bodies.

Video: Your Gastroschisis Journey

Learn what gastroschisis treatment is like from families whose babies were treated at Seattle Children’s.

Contact Us

To learn more about gastroschisis treatment at Seattle Children’s, call our General and Thoracic Surgery Department at 206-987-2794 x4.