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Meckel diverticulum

A Meckel diverticulum is a pouch on the wall of the lower part of the small intestine that is present at birth (congenital). The diverticulum may contain tissue similar to that of the stomach or pancreas.

Images

Digestive system
Digestive system organs

Presentation

Meckel's diverticulectomy - normal anatomy

Causes

A Meckel diverticulum is tissue left over from when the baby's digestive tract was forming before birth. A small number of people have a Meckel diverticulum. However, only a few develop symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Symptoms often occur during the first few years of life. However, they may not start until adulthood.

Exams and Tests

You may have the following tests:

Treatment

You may need surgery to remove the diverticulum if bleeding develops. The segment of small intestine that contains the diverticulum is taken out. The ends of the intestine are sewn back together.

You may need to take iron supplements to treat anemia. You may need a blood transfusion if you have a lot of bleeding,

Outlook (Prognosis)

Most people recover fully from surgery and will not have the problem come back. Complications from the surgery are also unlikely.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

See your health care provider right away if your child passes blood or bloody stool or has ongoing abdominal pain.

Related Information

Diverticulitis
Gastrointestinal bleeding
Peritonitis
Intussusception – children

References

Bass LM, Wershil BK. Anatomy, histology, embryology, and developmental anomalies of the small and large intestine. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 98.

Kleigman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM. Intestinal duplications, Meckel diverticulum, and other remnants of the omphalomesenteric duct. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 357.

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Review Date: 10/27/2020  

Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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