Munson Health
Meckel's Diverticulum

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by Safer DA


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.


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).


American Family Physician

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Disorders



Canadian Association of Gastroenterology

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology



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