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Laparoscopy and complicated meckel diverticulum in children.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Meckel diverticulum can present with a variety of complications but is often found incidentally during other surgical procedures. The role of laparoscopy in the management of Meckel diverticulum is established. We reviewed our experience with complicated cases of Meckel diverticulum in children managed with laparoscopy.

METHODS: A 15-year retrospective chart review revealed 14 cases of complicated Meckel diverticulum managed with laparoscopy. Incidentally found Meckel diverticulum and cases done by laparotomy were excluded. Ages varied from 2 years to 16 years old. There were 10 males and four females. Eight cases had small bowel obstruction; of those, three had extensive intestinal gangrene. Four cases had significant rectal bleeding, three had acute diverticulitis, and two had intussusception caused by the diverticulum.

RESULTS: Eleven cases were treated with laparoscopic Meckel diverticulectomy and three with laparoscopic-assisted bowel resection because of extensive gangrene of the intestine. Two of the three cases with significant intestinal gangrene returned several weeks later with small bowel obstruction secondary to adhesions. They were successfully managed with laparoscopic lysis of adhesions. There were no other complications.

CONCLUSIONS: Laparoscopy is safe and effective in the management of complicated Meckel diverticulum in children. Most cases can be managed with simple diverticulectomy. Laparoscopy is useful when the diagnosis is uncertain. When extensive gangrene is present, laparoscopy can help to mobilize the intestine and evaluate the degree of damage, irrigate and cleanse the peritoneal cavity, and minimize the incision necessary to accomplish the bowel resection.

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