What Is Cloacal Exstrophy? 

Cloacal exstrophy is a birth defect in which part of the abdomen is open and some of the abdominal organs (the bladder and intestines) are on the outside of the body. It often causes a separation of both male and female genitalia, and the anus may be closed.  It occurs in 1 out of every 200,000 to 400,000 births. 

The colon in these patients is often very short.  In the past, all of these patients would have had a permanent stoma (opening on the outside of the abdomen for stool collection into a bag).  However, this decision is now made based on the individual patient, since some may be able to have their stoma closed. 

Patients with cloacal exstrophy benefit most from a multidisciplinary care team working together to address all their medical needs. This approach helps achieve the best long-term outcome.