Meckel's diverticulum (MD)

Meckel's diverticulum (MD) are congenital (present at birth) pouches in a child’s intestine that are leftover tissue from the development of the digestive system.


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What is Meckel's diverticulum (MD)?

The body creates multiple tissue types during development of the digestive system. Leftover tissue that wasn’t absorbed properly can remain in the intestines after birth, creating pouches called Meckel’s diverticulum. These will bulge out at weak muscle points. If the pouches are made of stomach or pancreas cells, they will continue creating digestive enzymes that will interrupt the function of the intestines and cause symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of Meckel's diverticulum (MD)?

Symptoms can come and go over time, and are dependent on the type of cells and age at the time of diagnosis.

Symptoms normally appear before the age of 10, and include:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Bleeding into the intestines, which creates bloody stools
  • Fever, intestinal inflammation (swelling)
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain
  • Tenderness near the belly button

How is Meckel's diverticulum (MD) treated?

In patients who develop symptoms (i.e., abdominal pain and/or bleeding into intestine), surgical removal of the Meckel’s diverticulum is required and curative.

Meckel's diverticulum (MD) doctors and providers