Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Meckel's diverticulectomy - series


Normal anatomy

The small intestine is the longest portion of the digestive tract. It runs from the stomach to the colon.

Normal anatomy

Meckel's diverticulum is one of the most common congenital abnormalities. It occurs when the connection between the intestine and the umbilical cord doesn't completely close off during fetal development. This results in a small outpouching of the small intestine, know as a Meckel's diverticulum. In most cases, Meckel's diverticula do not cause any problems. In a small number of patients however, these diverticula can become infected (diverticulitis) cause an obstruction of the intestine, or cause bleeding from the intestine. The most common symptom of Meckel's diverticulitis is painless bleeding from the rectum. The stools may contain fresh blood or may look black and tarry. Diverticulitis, or infection, of a Meckel's diverticulum is often mistaken for appendicitis.


Treatment of a Meckel's diverticulum involves resection of the involved portion of the small intestine. Often, symptoms from a Meckel's diverticulum are thought to be due to appendicitis- and the Meckel's diverticulum is discovered only after the operation has begun. While the patient is deep asleep and pain-free (general anesthesia), an incision is made in the right side of the lower abdomen.


The small intestine is found and the Meckel's diverticulum is removed. The intestine is repaired and the incision is closed.


Intravenous fluids will be given until the patient is able to eat by mouth (after bowel sounds are heard). A nasogastric tube may be in place to empty the stomach. Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat infection. Discharge from the hospital can be expected within a week after surgery, barring complications.


Review Date: 10/13/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Home Page
Why Choose Us
Website Terms of Use

Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us

Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking

Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access
Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000    |