Small intestine & ampulla
Congenital anomalies
Meckel diverticulum

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Minor changes: 18 November 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Meckel diverticulum[TI] small bowel

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2020: 10,089
Page views in 2021 to date: 4,300
Cite this page: Gulwani H. Meckel diverticulum. website. Accessed May 8th, 2021.
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
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