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Definition of Diverticular Disease

By Joel A. Baum, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai ; Rafael Antonio Ching Companioni, MD, Icahn School of Medicine, Elmhurst Hospital Center

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Diverticula are saclike mucosal pouches that protrude from a tubular structure.

True diverticula of the GI tract contain all layers of the GI wall. Esophageal diverticula and Meckel diverticula are true diverticula.

False or pseudo-diverticula are mucosal and submucosal protrusions through the muscular wall of the bowel. Colonic diverticula are pseudodiverticula.

A single pouch is called a diverticulum and ≥ 2 pouches are called diverticula. These terms are occasionally used incorrectly.

Diverticulosis is the presence of one or more diverticula.

Diverticulitis is inflammation and/or infection of a diverticulum.