Meckel's diverticulum (patient information)

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Meckel's Diverticulum

Overview

What are the symptoms?

What are the causes?

Diagnosis

When to seek urgent medical care?

Treatment options

Where to find medical care for Meckel's diverticulum?

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Possible complications

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Assistant Editor-in-Chief: Meagan E. Doherty

Overview

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

What are the symptoms of Meckel's diverticulum?

Symptoms include:

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

What are the causes of Meckel's diverticulum?

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.

Diagnosis

Signs of Meckel's diverticulum:

Tests

Diseases with similar symptoms

When to seek urgent medical care?

See your health care provider promptly if your child passes blood or bloody stool or complains repeatedly of abdominal discomfort.

Treatment options

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.

You may need iron replacement to correct anemia. If you have a lot of bleeding, you may need a blood transfusion.

Where to find medical care for Meckel's diverticulum?

Directions to Hospitals Treating Meckel's diverticulum

What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?

Full recovery can be expected with surgery.

Possible complications

Sources



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