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Meckel diverticulum in children: Evaluation of macroscopic appearance for guidance in subsequent surgery.

BACKGROUND: The treatment of incidentally encountered asymptomatic Meckel diverticulum (MD) is controversial. We evaluated whether the macroscopic appearance correlates with clinical features, histopathological findings, future complications, and management decisions.

METHODS: Patients who underwent MD resection at a single institution from 2000 to 2012 were retrospectively analyzed in terms of age, sex, clinical features, laboratory data, perioperative findings (diverticulum length, diameter, depth, thickening, and height-to diameter ratio [HDR]), pathology, and postoperative follow-up.

RESULTS: Fifty children were enrolled. Sixteen percent of the resected MDs were found incidentally. Of 42 complicated MDs, 17 (40%) were long (HDR ≥2), 14 (33%) were thickened, and 29 (70%) exhibited base widening. Histopathologically, ectopic mucosa was found in 32 (64%) of all MDs and in 5 (62%) of incidentally removed MDs. There was no statistical difference between the macroscopic appearance and clinical signs, sex, or presence of ectopic tissue based on palpation.

CONCLUSION: The macroscopic appearance of MD does not indicate the presence or absence of HGM and cannot be used to guide subsequent surgery. Additionally, 40% of symptomatic patients in our study had life-threatening complications requiring prompt fluid resuscitation. We consider that incidentally detected MD should be removed regardless of its macroscopic appearance.

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