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Am Surg. 1997 Apr;63(4):354-5.

Meckel's diverticulum: a ten-year experience.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Virginia 24033, USA.


Meckel's diverticulum (MD) is the most common congenital anomaly of the small intestine, occurring in up to 4 percent of the population. The majority of MD cases are discovered incidentally; however, they can occasionally cause serious bleeding or obstructive or inflammatory complications. We reviewed the charts of 58 patients with MD from 1984 to 1994 collecting data on age, sex, presentation, therapy, pathology, and surgical complications to try to identify factors suggestive of the need for surgical therapy and the associated morbidity and mortality of resection. There was a 1.3:1 male:female ratio, and although patients with MD were found at all ages, the majority were found in patients in the 4th and 5th decade of life. Forty-five of 58 were incidental, and 13 of 58 were symptomatic. The most common symptom was bowel obstruction (10 of 13). Forty-five of 58 MD cases were managed surgically, 71 percent by diverticulectomy and the remainder by segmental resection, with no associated morbidity or mortality. Symptomatic patients were more often male (77 vs 23%; P 0.06, Fisher's exact test), more often had ectopic mucosa (31 vs 16%; P, not significant), and were evenly distributed over all ages. These data suggest that, with the possible exception of male sex, there is no factor predictive of the development of symptoms in incidentally found MD. In light of this finding, the low operative morbidity and mortality, and the even age distribution in patients with complications of their MD, we recommend that MD be resected when found incidentally in the absence of an absolute contraindication.

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