Meckel’s diverticulectomy

Meckel’s diverticulectomy is the surgical removal of an abnormal pouch (Meckel’s diverticulum) in the wall of the small intestine that can become inflamed or infected.


While the patient is under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free), the surgeon makes an incision in the right side of the lower abdomen. The small intestine is located and the diverticulum is removed. The intestine is repaired and the incision is closed.

Sometimes a small segment of the intestine may need to be removed along with the diverticulum. In this case the adjoining ends of the intestine sewn back together.

Inflammation or infection of Meckel’s diverticulum (diverticulitis) can be mistaken for appendicitis. The most common symptom of Meckel’s diverticulitis is painless bleeding from the rectum. The stools may contain fresh blood or may look black and tarry.

Risks for any anesthesia include the following:

  • Reactions to medications  
  • Problems breathing

Risks for any surgery are include the following:

  • Bleeding  
  • Infection

Expectations after surgery
The outcome of any surgery depends on many conditions. Based on an evaluation of your health status prior to surgery and the extent of the condition, your health care provider can give you a good estimate of the likely outcome.


After surgery, the patient will be observed carefully and treated for pain as needed. Intravenous fluids will be given until the patient is able to eat by mouth (after bowel sounds are heard). A nasogastric tube may be in place to empty the stomach.

Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat infection. Discharge from the hospital can be expected within a week after surgery, barring complications.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 4, 2012
by Harutyun Medina, M.D.

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