BACKGROUND/AIMS: Small bowel diverticulum is a rare disease that can be found incidentally during a surgical operation. Since reported complication rate is low, uncomplicated small bowel diverticula are generally recommended to be untreated. The aim of this study was to elucidate clinical features of this disease and to determine whether incidental small bowel diverticula should be removed for cure. METHODS: We reviewed the medical records of 80 patients with small bowel diverticular disease who underwent operation at Asan Medical Center between July 1989 and March 2003, retrospectively. RESULTS: Male to female ratio was 61:19, and the mean age was 44 (0-91) years. The most common diverticulum of small bowel is Meckel's diverticulum (63.8%), followed by duodenal diverticulum (15%), jejunal diverticulum (12.5%), and ileal diverticulum (8.7%). Of the 80 cases, 43 (53.7%) were symptomatic, and 37 (46.3%) were incidental. In the symptomatic patients, the most frequent symptom was abdominal pain (58.1%), followed by bleeding (44.2%). As for the treatments, segmental resection (53.7%) was performed more commonly than diverticulectomy (43.8%) in the symptomatic patients. Postoperative complications occurred more commonly in the symptomatic patients (25.6%) than the incidental patients (8.1%). Duodenal diverticula had a high morbidity and mortality rate. CONCLUSIONS: We should consider the diverticular disease of small bowel in patients with unexplained abdominal pain or gastrointestinal bleeding. As most small bowel diverticula, except for duodenal diverticula, are found incidentally and easily removed without postoperative morbidity or mortality, surgical resection appears to be recommended for the purpose of accurate diagnosis and treatment.
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