Oftentimes in children newly borne, the naval swelleth as bigge as an egg...—Ambroise Pare, 16th Century
THE MEDICAL literature, since this first description of the omphalocele, has been vague in distinguishing this from other defects of the anterior abdominal wall. Nomenclature has been inconsistent and indefinite, as is evident in the Standard Nomenclature of Diseases, where omphalocele is classified with umbilical hernia and gastroschisis is not included. Gastroschisis has also been labeled paraomphalocele, and omphalocele called exomphalos. Omphalocele has further been subdivided into embryonic and fetal types—the latter a synonym for hernia into the cord. This has led to confusion in interpreting the results of treatment and the survival statistics reported. It seems, therefore, important to clarify the existing knowledge about congenital anterior abdominal wall defects.
A study of the normal embryology of this area (Duhamel1) provides an insight into the various deviations from normal and forms a