Meckel's Diverticulum – What is Meckel's Diverticulum?

Meckel’s diverticulum

is a congenital abnormality of the small intestine. A small pouch or bulge is present in the small intestine at the time of birth. It is present in about 2% of the population, with boys more frequently experiencing symptoms.

Meckel’s diverticulum was first described by Fabricus Hildanus in the 16th century. Later it was named after

Mr. Johann Friedrich Meckel,

who described the embryological origin of the disease in 1809.


Most children having a Meckel’s diverticulum have no problems or symptoms. Only 4% of children who are born with it will have problems. Symptoms typically appear only before the age of two and the problems vary by age. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Swelling of the stomach
  • Painless rectal bleeding
  • Melaena-like black stools

These symptoms are followed by volvulus, intestinal obstruction and intussusception. The symptoms may present the features of acute appendicitis. At times, there can be extreme pain in the abdominal region.

Diagnosis of Meckel’s Diverticulum:

Technetium 99m pertechnetate scan

is done to diagnose Mickel’s diverticula. It detects gastric mucosa which is seen as a spot on the scan. Other tests such as screenings and colonoscopy are performed to see for bleeding disorders. Angiography assists to determine the location and severity of bleeding.

Treatment of Meckel’s Diverticulum:

People who have symptoms of Meckel’s diverticulum and are diagnosed for the same are treated by surgical method.


is done to remove the affected diverticulum and repair the intestine. In conditions such as bowel perforation or bowel obstruction, surgery involves resection of both Meckel’s diverticulum and adjacent bowel segments. In patients without any complications, treatment involves removal of Meckel’s diverticulum only.


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