THERE has been a tendency to classify congenital malformations of the umbilicus or the supraumbilical region of the abdomen through which there is a herniation of abdominal viscera into a sac covered by peritoneum and amniotic membrane as omphalocele. The use of this all-inclusive term has led to some confusion in evaluating results of surgical treatment.
We feel that the term omphalocele or amniocele should be restricted to those congenital defects in which there is herniation of the abdominal viscera into a sac covered by peritoneum and amniotic membrane through the umbilical and supraumbilical portion of the abdominal wall. In contrast, a hernia into the umbilical cord has a defect limited to the umbilical opening. The defect is practically always less than 4 cm. in diameter, and the sac covered by peritoneum and amniotic membrane usually contains only loops of small bowel. Thus, one can conclude that a hernia into