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Laparoscopic management of Meckel's diverticulum in adults

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Background: Meckel's diverticulum is an uncommon entity. A high index of suspicion is necessary for opportune diagnosis and prompt treatment. Technetium (TC) 99m pertechnetate scintigraphy is a sensitive and specific test for Meckel's diverticulum. In adults, the scan contributes little to clinical decision making and often will not change the need for surgical intervention. We describe our experience with four patients. Methods: Between August 2000 and August 2001, four patients were seen with Meckel's diverticula. Three were male and one was female. The mean age was 39 years (range, 18–64). Three patients presented with anemia and one with an acute abdomen. A 99mTc pertechnetate scan was performed at a cost of $900 in the three anemic patients after other endoscopic and radiographic tests were nondiagnostic. Only one patient had a positive scan. All four patients underwent exploratory laparoscopy and small bowel resection. In one patient, a minilaparatomy had to be performed. Results: All patients had a satisfactory outcome without complications. Three patients were discharged within 3 days of surgery. The remaining patient had a prolonged hospital stay because of ongoing chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer. In the three anemic patients who underwent enterectomy, ulcerated small bowel outside the diverticulum was found by the pathologist. Conclusion:Laparoscopy is safe, cost-effective, and efficient for the diagnosis and definitive management of Meckel's diverticulum. Technetium 99m pertechnetate scintigraphy scanning adds considerable time and expense to the care of the patient without significant benefits in adults. The practice of exploratory laparoscopy rather than scintigraphy is recommended.

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Rivas, H., Cacchione, R. & Allen, J. Laparoscopic management of Meckel's diverticulum in adults. Surg Endosc 17, 620–622 (2003).

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