Munson Health
 
Related Information
Health Library
Meckel's Diverticulum

Back to Document

by Safer DA
 

Symptoms

Although many people have Meckel’s diverticulum, only half experience any problems. The problems differ depending on your age. Most who develop symptoms are under the age of 10.
Another complication occurs when a diverticulum becomes infected and inflamed, a condition known as Meckel's diverticulitis. The symptoms and signs are essentially indistinguishable from acute appendicitis and require prompt medical attention.
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to Meckel’s diverticulum. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious or more serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your physician.
 

Diagnosis

If your doctor suspects bleeding from a Meckel’s diverticulum, he or she may order a technetium-99m pertechnetate scan (also called a Meckel scan). To perform this test, technetium-99m pertechnetate, a radioactive material, is injected into a vein in your arm. In the presence of Meckel’s diverticulum (particularly one that is actively bleeding), the radioactive material will be detected using a special camera positioned outside the body.
Sometimes, a small bowel series can find Meckel’s diverticulum. Barium is a liquid used to coat the inside of your digestive tract so it becomes visible during an x-ray. After swallowing a quantity of barium, a series of x-rays may show the barium enter the diverticulum as it passes through the small intestine.
If the diagnosis cannot be made by other means, your doctor may perform a laparoscopy . In this procedure, the contents of your abdomen can be examined through a laparoscope—a long, thin tube with a camera lens attached that is inserted through a tiny incision in the abdominal wall. If Meckel’s diverticulum is found, the laparoscope can be used to remove it (see below).
 

RESOURCES

American Family Physician
http://www.aafp.org/online/en/home.html/

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Disorders
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
http://www.cag-acg.org/

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology
http://www.naspghan.org/

 

References


Cullen JJ, Kelly KA, Moir CR, et al. Surgical management of Meckel’s diverticulum. An epidemiologic population-based study. Ann Surg . 1995; 222:568-569.


DynaMed Editorial Team. Meckel diverticulum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated November 30, 2009. Accessed November 10, 2010.


Lin S, Suhocki PV, Ludwig KA, et al. Gastrointestinal bleeding in adult patients with Meckel’s diverticulum: The role of technetium 99m pertechnetate scan. South Med J . 2002;95:1338-1341.


Martin JP, Connor PD, Charles K. Meckel’s diverticulum. Am Fam Physician . 2000; 16:1037.


Meckel’s diverticulum: patient information. Am Fam Physician . 2000;16:1044.


Meckel’s diverticulum: review and management. Am Fam Physician . 2001;64:2000.


Merck Manual. Meckel’s diverticulum. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mrkshared/mmanual/section19/chapter268/268d.jsp . Accessed August 16, 2005.

 

Revision Information