Prune Belly Syndrome, also known as Prune Abdomen Syndrome, is a rare and serious condition in which the baby is born with deficiency, or even absence, of the abdominal wall muscles, leaving the bowels and bladder only covered. through the skin, giving the appearance that the belly has a prune texture.
This syndrome is more common in male babies, and in these cases it can also prevent the descent or development of the testicles, which can be overcome with hormone therapy and surgery.
Prune belly syndrome can be cured by surgery but must be diagnosed as soon as possible to ensure that the child is able to grow and develop in a similar way to other children who do not have the syndrome.
How to identify the symptoms
Prune belly syndrome is usually characterized by:
- Appearance of prune skin in the belly region;
- Leaking urine through the navel scar;
- No descent of testicles in boys;
- Recurrent urinary infections and urinary tract problems;
- Breathing problems.
Depending on the severity of symptoms, some babies may be at high risk of dying soon after birth. For this reason, it is very important to make an early diagnosis to start treatment with surgery.
How to confirm the diagnosis
The obstetrician usually discovers that the baby has this syndrome on ultrasound during the prenatal examination. A classic sign that a baby has this condition is that the baby has an unusually swollen, large belly.
However, when the diagnosis is not made when the baby is still in the mother’s womb, it is usually made when the baby is born and has difficulty breathing and a soft, swollen belly with a different consistency than usual.
what causes the syndrome
The cause of prune belly syndrome is not completely known, but it can be associated with the use of cocaine during pregnancy or simply a genetic malformation.
How is the treatment done
The treatment of prune belly syndrome is usually through surgery that helps to remodel the wall of the abdomen and urinary tract, creating a musculature capable of supporting the skin and protecting the organs.
Also, to prevent urinary infections that are common in babies born with this syndrome, a doctor may perform a vesicostomy, which is the insertion of a catheter into the bladder for urine to exit through the abdomen.
Physical therapy is also part of the treatment to cure prune belly syndrome, being important to strengthen muscles, increase respiratory capacity and cardiovascular efficiency.