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Shriners Children's provides specialized care for children with cloacal exstrophy.

The goal of our colorectal and gastrointestinal specialty care is to provide children with anal-rectal disorders advanced care and rehabilitation that frees them from social stigma and allows them to live and play like other children.

What is Cloacal Exstrophy?

Cloacal exstrophy is a type of cloacal malformation. It's a birth defect in which a child is born with many of their digestive system structures, such as the large intestine and bladder, exposed. This conditions usually results in a second birth defect in which abdominal organs stick out of the navel as well.

How We Care for Cloacal Exstrophy

Cloacal exstrophy requires surgical repair. Shriners Children's pediatric surgeons and clinicians in the colorectal and gastrointestinal department have extensive experience in repairing cloacal malformations, including cloacal exstrophy.

Sometimes a child will undergo a series of surgeries over a number of years. We work together as a team to provide you and your child an individualized plan for reconstruction and future follow-up care. The exact situation and plan of each cloacal exstrophy surgery will depend on the severity of the condition. We can start planning interventions before your child is even born. In every case, our surgeons will work with you and your child to come up with an individualized care plan.

We provide follow-up care until the child becomes an adult to monitor your child’s health, prevent problems, manage symptoms and give your child the best quality of life.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.

Understanding Your Child's Colorectal and Gastrointestinal (GI) Appointment(s)

On the first visit, parents and children typically come for a group overview and educational presentation about bowel management. Our doctors and nurses explain the medicines, enemas and diets we use as treatment options. Each family has a one-on-one clinic visit with a provider to make a plan for their child.

If referred to one of our locations for a more complex condition or surgery, you and your child go directly to the one-on-one visit with one of our providers to build an individualized plan of care.

Sometimes, when deemed appropriate, your child may have a bowel X-ray. This helps us with diagnoses and check whether your child’s plan is working. A nurse will talk with you to discuss your child’s results.

Our goal is for your child to empty their bowel daily with no accidents and to live with as few limitations as possible. Success depends on your child’s condition and following your plan closely.

How We Support Your Child’s Total Health and Well-Being

Families and patients say that Shriners Children’s feels like home to them, and it's no wonder to us. We know that a child's needs go beyond the physical. Our care teams support their social, emotional and developmental health with patient programs and activities.

A few examples include:

Thanks to Shriners Children's, Wyatt has freedom and our family has room to take a deep breath because we know he is healthy.
Jacqueline, Sacramento
patient and physician review information on tablet

Pediatric Surgeons that Specialize in Colorectal Care

Our pediatric surgeons are recognized worldwide and specialize in care for children experiencing issues with their bowels and digestive system, among other conditions. They work to give children improved health, better function and less pain, while also giving children greater independence, ability and confidence.

Treatments for Cloacal Exstrophy

View All Related Treatments

Alternatives to Rectal Enemas

Our team provides individualized diets, laxatives and psychosocial therapy to provide relief for children with constipation.


Shriners Children's pediatric surgeons perform this surgery to correct anorectal malformations that cause painful bowel movements. It involves the reconstruction of the anus to stretch or enlarge the opening where stool drains.

Colonic Irrigation

This alleviates immobile stool in the colon, preventing bacterial overgrowth and colitis. Our team teaches parents to perform colonic irrigation effectively at home.

Colon Resection

Colon resections, also referred to as sigmoid resections or bowel resections, are performed by our pediatric surgeons. The procedure involves removing part of the bowel to treat and prevent diseases and conditions that affect the colon.

Gastrostomy Tube Placement

A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is placed in the stomach as a feeding tube for children who cannot get enough nutrition by mouth. Shriners Children’s uses G-tubes for children with esophageal, stomach or intestinal problems.


An ileostomy helps waste and gas exit the body without passing through the colon or rectum. An Ileostomy is typically used when a disease is preventing the colon from working properly or the colon has to be removed.

Ostomy Creation and Closure

Ostomy procedures change the way a child's urine or stool exits their body because of problems with their digestive or urinary system. Ostomies can be temporary or permanent.

Primary and Secondary Pull-Through for Hirschsprung's Disease

To fix intestinal obstruction caused by Hirschsprung's disease, the pull-through surgical procedure removes the diseased section of the intestine and pulls the healthy portion down to the anus.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.