Small bowel (small intestine)
Congenital anomalies
Meconium peritonitis

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

Revised: 9 February 2018, last major update August 2012

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

PubMed Search: Meconium peritonitis[TI] small bowel

Cite this page: Gulwani, H. Meconium peritonitis. website. Accessed October 18th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Rare prenatal complication in 1 per 30,000 live births
  • GI perforation releases meconium into abdominal cavity, inducing sterile inflammatory reaction and calcium deposition
  • Perforation may be due to anoxia leading to bowel ischemia, atresia, congenital bands, Hirschprung disease, internal hernia, meconium ileus, stenosis, volvulus or idiopathic
  • Presents with fetal distress, maternal polyhydramnios, abdominal distention or a mass
  • Newborns with perforation should be evaluated for cystic fibrosis (Pediatr Surg Int 2003;19:75)
Radiology description
Case reports
Gross description
  • Organized peritonitis with fibrosis, calcifications, dense intestinal adhesions
  • Meconium pseudocyst (fibrous wall) may form
Gross images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Abdominal cavity

Small intestine

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Peritoneal surface shows fibrinous exudate with microcalcifications, bile pigment-like debris, histiocytes, chronic inflammatory cells
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

Peritoneal surface

Differential diagnosis