An omphalocele is a birth defect, whereby a newborn infant's intestines are found outside the body due to a split in the abdominal wall at the umbilical (navel) area. (Fig. 1.)
The intestines, covered only by a thin layer of tissue, can protrude through the abdominal wall. Some cases can be managed by tight bandaging, but with the child in this case, because the wound was so large, hospital admission was essential.
Omphalocele is caused by a defect in the abdominal wall enabling the intestines to protrude through the gap, and is covered with a membrane..
Abdominal wall defects develop as a baby grows inside the mother's womb. During development, the intestines and other organs (liver, bladder, stomach, and ovaries or testes) develop outside the body at first and later return inside. In babies with omphalocele, the intestines and other organs remain outside the abdominal wall, with a membrane covering them. The exact cause for abdominal wall defects is not known.
There are different sizes and types of omphaloceles, and this child's condition was quite severe. After one year in hospital, I received a message from the child's mother asking if wheatgrass extract might help hasten healing of the child's abdominal wound, because her child was to remain in hospital for another year. Fortunately, as you can see, wheatgrass extract soon made it possible for the child to return home.
Omphaloceles are repaired surgically, but, in this case, where the abdominal wall is not strong enough to hold the intestines in, the child must be hospitalised. There is a sac (covering) that helps contain the abdominal contents, (Fig. 2.) but if it is not strong enough, it can burst open and leave the child in danger. There are many other potential complications such as breathing problems due to the child's inability to expand its lungs adequately.
Treatment involves covering the sac with a sterile mesh material, which is then stitched in place to form what is called a silo. As the baby grows over time, the abdominal contents are gradually pushed back into the abdominal cavity. Eventually, when the omphalocele can fit comfortably within the abdominal cavity, the abdomen is closed surgically, which in this case, was unnecessary.
Because this child's abdominal opening was slow at healing, she was kept in hospital. When the first photograph was taken after one year of hospitalisation, surgeons said she would need to stay another year. This was when her mother contacted me to see if wheatgrass extract could hasten the healing process.
Although I had no idea whether the extract would work or not, fortunately, it did - very well. Just ONE APPLICATION over the abdominal swelling significantly accelerated the healing process and reduced inflammation. In fact the child was sent home after only 2 more weeks in hospital. It seems that the abdominal wound did not close due to a number of neurological connections between abdominal wall cell receptors and the brain being blocked. Here though, the affected area appears to have "re-connected" the omphalocele opening to the brain. (See "How wheatgrass extract heals.")
Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.