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April 1939


Author Affiliations

From Surgical Service A of St. Luke's Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1939;38(4):783-787. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1939.01200100186008

Johann Friedreich Meckel1 was the first to describe a congenital diverticulum of the lower portion of the ileum. His description was published in 1808. He called attention to the importance of this structure in causation of serious disease. One hundred and fifteen years before this report, in 1683, Ruysch2 had described a diverticulum and later in 1701 had published in "Thesaurus Anatomicus" (vol. 7, fig. 283) an illustration of this malformation. In 1700 Littré3 reported a diverticulum encountered in a hernial sac. He, however, failed to describe the muscular coats characteristic of the congenital defect, and the embryonic derivation was not traced. It was from this description that the term "Littré's hernia" took origin.

Meckel's diverticulum, an anomaly found in man, occurs rather commonly. Various opinions have been expressed as to its incidence. The estimates range from 0.1 to 3 per cent. Balfour4 found 15 Meckel's

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