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Meckel Diverticulum

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Meckel Diverticulum


Meckel diverticulum is a pouch of extra tissue in the wall of the small intestine. It is present at birth.

Meckel Diverticulum.

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A Meckel diverticulum develops before birth. It is created by a section of tissue that acts as a link to the umbilical cord in early development. Normally, this tissue shrinks and is reabsorbed by the seventh week of pregnancy. In Meckel diverticulum, the tissue remains and creates a pouch or bulge in the lower part of the small intestine. It is not known why this happens in some people.

Risk Factors

Meckel diverticulum is more common in males.


Most people with Meckel diverticulum do not have symptoms. Those who do may have:

  • Belly pain
  • Blood in stool (poop)
  • Vomiting
  • Fever


A Meckel diverticulum that is not causing symptoms may be found during an unrelated procedure.

In others, the doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. This can be enough to point to the diagnosis.

Pictures of the abdomen will be taken. This can be done with:

  • Meckel scan (technetium-99m pertechnetate scan)
  • CT scan
  • X-ray

Laparoscopic surgery may be done if the diagnosis is not clear. If Meckel diverticulum is found during this test, it may be removed.


People who do not have symptoms may not need treatment. The doctor will monitor for any changes.

In others, the goal of treatment is to remove the Meckel diverticulum. This can be done with surgery.


There are no current guidelines to prevent Meckel diverticulum.





  • Meckel diverticulum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/meckel-diverticulum.
  • Meckel diverticulum. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/diverticular-disease/meckel-diverticulum.


  • Nicole S. Meregian, PA
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.