Small bowel (small intestine)
Congenital anomalies
Meckel diverticulum

Author: Hanni Gulwani, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 9 February 2018, last major update August 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Meckel diverticulum[TI] small bowel

Cite this page: Gulwani, H. Meckel diverticulum. website. Accessed October 19th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Most prevalent congenital abnormality of GI tract, in 2% of normal population
  • Usually asymptomatic but also abdominal pain of unknown etiology (Rev Esp Enferm Dig 2011;103:250)
  • Due to persistence (failure to involute) of proximal vitelline duct (also called omphalomesenteric duct, connects lumen of fetal intestine to yolk sac)
  • Normally, vitelline duct atrophies and becomes fibrous cord connecting umbilicus and bowel, which is subsequently absorbed
  • 63% occur in males
  • Usually 20 cm proximal to ileocecal valve on antimesenteric side of bowel, 1 - 8 cm long (Clin Anat 2011;24:416)
  • Associated with other congenital anomalies
  • Complications: perforation, enteroumbilical fistula, peptic ulceration (usually in adjacent ileum and not in diverticulum), hemorrhage (often massive in children), intussusception, obstruction, carcinoid and other tumors
Case reports
  • Remove if found at surgery, even if incidental
Gross images

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Meckel diverticulum

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Usually small intestinal mucosa but 50% have gastric or pancreatic heterotopia
  • Contains all 3 layers of bowel wall
Microscopic (histologic) images

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With pancreatic heterotopia