Merck Manual

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Definition of Diverticular Disease

By

Joel A. Baum

, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai;


Rafael Antonio Ching Companioni

, MD, Digestive Diseases Center

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Diverticula are saclike mucosal pouches that protrude from a tubular structure.

True diverticula of the gastrointestinal (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.

Diverticular disease is characterized as symptomatic diverticulosis.

Diverticulitis is inflammation with or without infection of a diverticulum.

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