Meckel's Diverticulum

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain - Carl Jung

Meckel's Diverticulum
Meckel's Diverticulum

image by: SurgEd Notes

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Mystery Diagnosis: Meckel's diverticulum and intussusception

My youngest son, Ryan, has had a rough couple of months. He started having stomach cramps on Monday, May 16. Every day, at least once, but sometimes twice; he would lay on the floor moaning and groaning that his stomach hurt. Nothing helped it. When it quit hurting after 30 minutes or an hour, he would get up and go ride his bike, or go for a run, or whatever else he felt like doing...because he felt completely fine when his stomach wasn't hurting.

I was baffled. I didn't know how to help him. I offered multiple over-the-counter products, but nothing ever helped. He didn't seem sick and had no other symptoms. Trust me...I quizzed him about what was going on in the bathroom almost…

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 Mystery Diagnosis: Meckel's diverticulum and intussusception

A Meckel's diverticulum is a remnant of the yolk sack/umbilical cord that is supposed to dissolve shortly after birth. In two percent of the population it doesn't dissolve. It usually makes itself known within months of birth, by causing bleeding and extreme pain in infants, due to the fact that it produces acid. (The intestines are non-acidic.) Very rarely, they go undetected if they do NOT produce acid.


Meckel’s diverticulum is a rather common condition, occurring in 1 out of every 50 people. However, it is often difficult to diagnose. Some people with Meckel’s diverticulum never have any symptoms. Others may have symptoms that are mistaken for other disorders such as appendicitis (an inflammation of the appendix) or a peptic ulcer (sore on the stomach lining).

Great Ormond Street Hospital

Sometimes a test called a Meckel’s scan is used to show your child’s intestine and whether it contains a certain type of tissue that can cause bleeding. The scan works by injecting a substance called an isotope into your child’s veins, which then travels through the blood supply to the intestine. A series of pictures are taken while the isotope is passing through the intestine. This scan may not always identify the pouch.


This is the vestigial remnant of the vitellointestinal duct. It is the most frequent malformation of the gastrointestinal tract. If present, it is located in the distal ileum, usually within 100 cm of the ileocaecal valve.

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