Definition of Meckel’s diverticulum
A Meckel’s diverticulum is a pouch on the wall of the lower part of the intestine that is present at birth (congenital). The diverticulum may contain tissue that is identical to tissue of the stomach or pancreas.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A Meckel’s diverticulum is tissue left over from structures in the unborn baby’s digestive tract that were not fully reabsorbed before birth. Approximately 2% of the population has a Meckel’s diverticulum, but only a few people develop symptoms.
Surgery to remove the diverticulum is recommended if bleeding develops. In these rare cases, the segment of small intestine that contains the diverticulum is surgically removed. The ends of the intestine are sewn back together.
Full recovery can be expected with surgery.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/11/2010