The defect can be corrected with surgery in most cases. The outcome depends on the amount of damage to or loss of intestine.
The infant is cared for post-operatively in a neonatal intensive care unit. The baby is placed in an isolette (incubator) to keep warm and prevent infection. The baby will be given oxygen and often require mechanical ventilation. Intravenous fluids and antibiotics and pain medication will be given. A nasogastric tube will be in place to keep the stomach emptied of gastric secretions. Feedings are started by nasogastric tube as soon as bowel function resumes. Feedings are started very slowly and often infants are reluctant to feed. These babies may need feeding therapy and lots of encouragement.
Update Date 4/9/2014
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.