Meckel's diverticulum natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Sudarshana Datta, MD [2]


Meckel's diverticulum is mostly seen in male children (mostly <2 years of age). One fourth of untreated cases of Meckel's diverticulum may develop complications such as intestinal obstruction, hemorrhage, diverticulitis, bowel ischemia, and necrosis. Hemorrhage is the most common complication in patients with Meckel's diverticulum. Bleeding in patients may be minimal, recurrent or massive and shock-producing. The rate of bleeding is assessed based on quantity of blood lost in the stools, appearance of the material passing through the rectum and hemodynamic state of the patient. Depending on the extent of the symptom progression at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis may vary. However, the prognosis is generally regarded as excellent in cases where symptomatic Meckel's diverticulum is treated in a timely manner. Complete recovery may be expected with surgery in majority of the cases.

Natural History, Complications, and Prognosis

Natural History



  • Most common complication in patients with Meckel diverticulum
  • Accounts for one fourth of all complications
  • More commonly seen in:
    • Children younger than 2 years
    • Male sex

Intestinal obstruction




Umbilical anomalies

Other complications


Prognosis of patients with Meckel's diverticulum is as follows: [6]


  1. "Meckel's Diverticulum | Cleveland Clinic".
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dumper J, Mackenzie S, Mitchell P, Sutherland F, Quan ML, Mew D (2006). "Complications of Meckel's diverticula in adults". Can J Surg. 49 (5): 353–7. PMC 3207587. PMID 17152574.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cullen JJ, Kelly KA, Moir CR, Hodge DO, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ (1994). "Surgical management of Meckel's diverticulum. An epidemiologic, population-based study". Ann. Surg. 220 (4): 564–8, discussion 568–9. PMC 1234434. PMID 7944666.
  4. Karadeniz Cakmak G, Emre AU, Tascilar O, Bektaş S, Uçan BH, Irkorucu O, Karakaya K, Ustundag Y, Comert M (2007). "Lipoma within inverted Meckel's diverticulum as a cause of recurrent partial intestinal obstruction and hemorrhage: a case report and review of literature". World J. Gastroenterol. 13 (7): 1141–3. PMC 4146883. PMID 17373755.
  5. Thirunavukarasu P, Sathaiah M, Sukumar S, Bartels CJ, Zeh H, Lee KK, Bartlett DL (2011). "Meckel's diverticulum--a high-risk region for malignancy in the ileum. Insights from a population-based epidemiological study and implications in surgical management". Ann. Surg. 253 (2): 223–30. doi:10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181ef488d. PMC 4129548. PMID 21135700.
  6. "Meckel diverticulum Prognosis - Epocrates Online".
  7. Yagnik VD, Yagnik BD (2010). "Asymptomatic Meckel's diverticulum in adults: is diverticulectomy indicated?". Saudi J Gastroenterol. 16 (4): 306. doi:10.4103/1319-3767.70626. PMC 2995107. PMID 20871204.
  8. Zani A, Eaton S, Rees CM, Pierro A (2008). "Incidentally detected Meckel diverticulum: to resect or not to resect?". Ann. Surg. 247 (2): 276–81. doi:10.1097/SLA.0b013e31815aaaf8. PMID 18216533.