The anterior abdominal wall defect in cases of gastroschisis is of full thickness and typically to the right of the umbilical cord. Unlike exomphalos there is no sac covering the eviscerated intestine, which is usually dilated and inflamed (Figure 2.9).

Figure 2.8 Clinical appearance of an infant with exomphalos. The abdominal contents are enclosed within an avascular hernial sac.

The liver is not herniated. The precise embryolog-ical basis of gastroschisis is unclear and a number of hypotheses have been proposed. The fact that gastroschisis is rarely associated with any other congenital abnormalities, with the exception of intestinal atresias and malrotation, suggests that it is most likely to have a separate embryological basis from the events resulting in exomphalos.

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