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Meckel’s Diverticulectomy Overview

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 8/13/2009

This medical procedure requires a patient to undergo surgery to remove a pouch from the small intestines. This procedure can have a lengthy recovery time and there are multiple risks associated with it.

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    A medical procedure known as a Meckel’s diverticulectomy is used to remove a pouch from the small intestines. This pouch is called a Meckel’s diverticulum. This condition affects the wall of the small intestine and is present from birth. If the condition is left untreated, it can cause a blockage in the intestines, pain, and blood in the stool. It is rare to experience symptoms with this condition, and they usually do not occur until adulthood. A diverticulectomy is a surgical procedure that is used to treat this condition.

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    Surgical Procedure

    To perform this medical procedure, anesthesia will need to be used so the pain from the surgery is not felt. The procedure is an open surgery. This requires the surgeon to make an incision on the right side of the lower abdomen. The small intestine is then open to reveal the diverticulum. The pouch will then be removed. Sometimes, part of the small intestine itself needs to be removed as well. If this occurs, the intestine will be sewn back together. Once the procedure is complete, the large incision will then be closed.

    Another option for this procedure is for the surgeon to use a laparoscope for the surgery. This is a tiny camera that is inserted into the body during the surgery to give the surgeon a better view of the procedure. The camera is inserted into the body through 3 to 5 small incisions made into the abdominal area.

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    Recovery Process

    During the recovery process after this procedure, the patient remains hospitalized and is given pain medications. Fluids are given through an IV until bowel movements begin to occur. Antibiotics are given to reduce the risk of an infection occurring. Hospitalization usually lasts only a week, given there are no further complications.

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    Risks of Procedure

    There are many risks associated with this procedure. There can be breathing complications and allergic reactions to the medications that are used. Infection is a risk during and after the procedure is complete. Blood clots can travel into the lungs and legs causing serious complications. Heart attack or stroke may occur during the surgery.

    Severe bleeding is a risk of the surgery. During the surgery, surrounding organs and tissues can become damaged. If the intestines had to be sewn back together, there is a risk they may reopen. Scar tissue can form in the abdomen and cause a blockage in the intestines. The site of the incision can begin to bulge and become infected. Some risks of this procedure are common but are often treatable with no further complication.

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    References:

    “Meckel’s diverticulectomy- Risks” February 17, 2009 By Robert A. Cowles, MD University of Maryland Medical Center

    “Meckel’s diverticulectomy- Overview” February 17, 2009 By Robert A. Cowels, MD University of Maryland Medical Center

    “Meckel’s diverticulectomy” University of Pennsylvania Health System