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Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken bone mimicking acute appendicitis. Case report


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Meckel’s diverticulum (MD) is the most common

congenital anomaly of the gastrointestinal tract and

cor-responds to a remnant of the vitelline or

omphalome-senteric duct (1-3). It normally lies within 30 cm from

the ileocecal valve and is found in 1-2% of the

popula-tion, however only 16% of all MD are symptomatic and

bleeding and obstruction are the most common

clini-cal presentation in adults and children, respectively (4,

5). Foreign body perforation of MD caused by chicken

bone is an extremely rare event, with only three cases

reported in the literature (6-8).

The aim of this report is to describe the case of a

Bra-zilian Amazon man who was thought to have acute

ap-pendicitis pre-operatively; however at operation a MD

perforated by a chicken bone was found.

Case report

A 52-years-old Brazilian Amazon man was admitted presenting a seven days history of constant abdominal pain localized on the ri-ght iliac fossa (RIF). The patient referred also intermittent fever, nau-sea, vomits and absence of passage of stool and gas. His past medi-cal history was unremarkable, but one week before the beginning of symptoms the patient referred having eaten a small chicken bo-ne. On physical examination, he was apyrexic. He was tender on his RIF with signs of guarding. There was rebound tenderness, ab-SUMMARY: Perforation of meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken

bone mimicking acute appendicitis. Case report.



Meckel’s diverticulum (MD) is a congenital disorder that results from an incomplete obliteration of the vitelline duct. MD may give rise to blee-ding, intestinal obstruction and inflammation; however its perforation by a foreign body is an extremely rare life-threatening complication.

We report on a 52 years-old Brazilian Amazon man presenting symp-toms and signs of acute abdomen with an initial suspicion of acute ap-pendicitis. However, the right diagnosis was made only during explora-tory laparotomy when the appendix was found to be normal, whereas MD was found to be inflamed and perforated by a chicken bone. The patient was treated successfully with resection of a segment of the ileum, including the perforated diverticulum, and had an uncomplicated po-stoperative course.

RIASSUNTO: Perforazione del diverticolo di Meckel causata da un

osso di pollo simulsante un’appendicite acuta. Descrizione di un caso.



Il diverticolo di Meckel (DM) è una anomalia congenita dovuta a una chiusura incompleta del dotto vitellino. Il DM può manifestarsi con emorragia, ostruzione intestinale e infiammazione; la sua perforazione da osso di pollo è una complicazione molto rara che pone a rischio la vita.

Descriviamo qui il caso di un paziente di sesso maschile (52 anni d’ età), di origine amazzonica, il quale ha manifestato sintomi e segni di addome acuto con sospetto iniziale di appendicite acuta. Tuttavia, la diagnosi corretta è stata posta solo durante l’atto operatorio, quando l’appendice ciecale è apparsa normale mentre si è constatato che il DM era infiammato e perforato da un osso di gallina. Il paziente è stato cu-rato con la rimozione del segmento ileale, con il DM perfocu-rato, con un’e-voluzione post-operatoria regolare.

Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken bone

mimicking acute appendicitis. Case report














G Chir Vol. 30 - n. 11/12 - pp. 476-478 Novembre-Dicembre 2009

1 Hospital de Pronto Socorro Municipal Dr. Humberto Maradei Pereira Belém, Pará, Brazil

2 Health Science Institute. Faculty of Medicine. Federal Univerty of Pará Belém, Pará, Brazil

3 Health and Biological Science Center. School of Medicine. State University of Pará. Belém, Pará, Brazil

© Copyright 2009, CIC Edizioni Internazionali, Roma

KEYWORDS: Meckel’s diverticulum - Chicken bone - Surgery.

Diverticolo di Meckel - Osso di pollo - Chirurgia.


477 Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken bone mimicking acute appendicitis. Case report

dominal dilation and a palpable mass at the right lower abdominal quadrant. Laboratorial blood tests were normal. Abdominal radio-graphy showed important intestinal dilation (Fig. 1). As no other structural abnormality was identified, a provisional clinical diagno-sis of acute appendicitis was made and the abdominal painful syn-drome was attributed to it. Based on this diagnosis, the patient un-derwent an exploratory laparotomy.

At operation, through a median incision, a small amount of free fluid and a right iliac fossa mass were revealed. The appendix was normal as was the terminal ileum. However, there was a diverticu-lum projecting from the anti-mesenteric ileal board 25 cm from the ileocecal valve, perforated by a chicken bone, where adhesions of the omentum were identified. As some lesions of the ileum close to the inflammatory mass were created during the isolation of the MD from the adhesions, a 10 cm enterectomy, including the perforated MD (Fig. 2), and an end-to-end enteroenteral anastomosis 15 cm from the ileocecal valve were performed. The patient had an uneventful recovery and was discharged home on the sixth post-operative day. Histopathology revealed a MD with evidence of acute inflamma-tory process, vascular congestion and perforation. The gastric mu-cosa was not present within the diverticulum.


Meckel’s diverticulum (MD) is the most common

congenital abnormality of the small intestine and

cor-responds to a remnant of the vitelline duct which

nor-mally disappears at the end of the seventh week of

ge-station (6, 9). Wilhelm Fabricius Hildanus, a German

surgeon, first described the diverticulum in 1598 (1, 4,5).

However, Johann Friedrich Meckel, a German

compa-rative anatomist, in a cadaver’s study of 22 children was

the first to publish a detailed description of the

diver-ticulum’s anatomy and embryology (1, 4-6).

The incidence in the general population is estimated

to range between 0.3-3%, but only 16% of all MD are

symptomatic (5,6). MD may give rise to bleeding,

inte-stinal obstruction and inflammation, intussusception and

neoplasms (5,9); however its perforation by a foreign body

is an extremely rare life-threatening complication.

Ac-cording to Roessel (1962) (11), fish bone and wood

splin-ter are the most common types of foreign bodies

re-sponsible of MD’s perforation. Perforation of MD by a

chicken bone is an extremely rare and dramatic event with

only three cases reported in the literature (6-8).

In the majority of perforations, history of an

inge-sted foreign body was lacking and operation usually was

done on the basis of a surgical acute abdomen. Acute

appendicitis is by far the most common preoperative

dia-gnosis in patients without history of ingested foreign

body (11). However, although there are no specific



A.L. Campos Canelas et al.

sical symptoms or signs that can differentiate between

perforation of MD and acute appendicitis, diagnostic

laparoscopy in acute abdominal pain may be an useful

tool in the diagnosis and management foreign body

perforation of MD (12). In our case, an initial

suspi-cion of acute appendicitis was made, but we only

con-firmed the diagnosis during exploratory laparotomy

when the appendix was found to be normal, whereas the

MD was found to be inflamed and perforated by a

chicken bone. After surgery, our patient confirmed

unin-tentional swallowing of a chicken bone two days

befo-re the beginning of symptoms.

In conclusion, this case reinforces that perforation

of MD by a chicken bone is a rare complication and an

uncommon cause of acute abdomen in adults. A

seg-mental resection of the ileum, including the perforated

MD, may be a good surgical approach when the

diver-ticulum is involved by many adhesions.

1. John J, Pal K, Singh VP. Perforated Meckels diverticulum cau-sing giant pseudocyst and secondary appendicities. Indian Pe-diatr. 2006;43:988-90.

2. Markogiannakis H, Theodorou D, Toutouzas KG, Drimousis P, Panoussopoulos SG, Katsaragakis S. Persistent omphalome-senteric duct causing small bowel obstruction in an adult. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:2258-60.

3. Rangarajan M, Palanivelu C, Senthilkumar R, Madankumar MV. Laparoscopic surgery for perforation of Meckel’s diverti-culum. Singapore Med J. 2007;:102-5.

4. Dumper J, Mackenzie S, Mitchell P, Sutherland F, Quan ML, Mew D. Complications of Meckel’s diverticula in adults. Can J Surg. 2006;49(5):353-7.

5. Park JJ, Wolff BG, Tollefson MK, Walsh EE, Larson DR. Meckel diverticulum: the Mayo Clinic experience with 1476 pa-tients (1950-2002). Ann Surg. 2005;241:529-33.

6. Yagci G, Cetiner S, Tufan T. Perforation of Meckel’s

diverti-culum by a chicken bone, a rare complication: report of a case. Surg Today. 2004;34:606-8.

7. Borovoı˘ SV. Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken bone. (Russian) Klin Khir. 1990;(2):58 (Abstract).

8. Koussidis A, Dounavis A. Acute appendicitis as a diagnostic er-ror. Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by a chicken bone. (German) Zentralbl Chir. 1983;108:1525-6 (Abstract). 9. Karadeniz Cakmak G, Emre AU, Tascilar O, Bektaş S, Uçan

BH, Irkorucu O, Karakaya K, et al. Lipoma within inverted Meckel’s diverticulum as a cause of recurrent partial intestinal obstruction and hemorrhage: a case report and review of litera-ture. World J Gastroenterol. 2007;13:1141-3.

10. Roessel CW. Perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum by foreign body: case report and review of the literature. Ann Surg. 1962;156:972-5.

11. Wong JH, Suhaili DN, Kok KY. Fish bone perforation of Meckel’s diverticulum: a rare event? Asian J Surg. 2005; 28:295-6.


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