A relatively large congenital hernia
at the navel that occurs in about one in 5000 newborn
s. The protruding organs are covered only by the relatively transparent peritoneum
rather than by skin. The amount of protrusion can range from a small loop of intestine to multiple organs, including the liver and spleen. Because of the presence of this sac, the abdominal cavity is usually smalller than normal, making replacement difficult.
Surgery is not normally carried out in the first few weeks of life unless the hernia is very small, however, rupture of the peritoneum is a very serious condition, and if this occurs surgery must be performed at once. The normal time at which this disorder is corrected is between the sixth and twelth month of life. Until that time the pouch must be protected to prevent rupture. A cream is often used to toughen the membrane.