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Schematic picture of the diverticulum.jpg
Schematic drawing of a false diverticulum. A - mucosa; B - submucosa; C - muscularis; D - serosa and subserosa
Classification and external resources
MeSH D004240

A diverticulum (plural: diverticula) is the medical or biological term for an outpouching of a hollow (or a fluid-filled) structure in the body. Depending upon which layers of the structure are involved, they are described as being either true or false.

In medicine, the term usually implies the structure is not normally present. However, in the embryonic stage, some normal structures begin development as a diverticulum arising from another structure.


Explanation video of diverticula, diverticulitis, diverticulosis

Guttural pouch: A large (300-500 ml), paired, air-filled ventral diverticulum of the auditory tube found in horses and other Perissodactyla.


Diverticula are described as being true or false depending upon the layers involved:

Human pathology[edit]

Diverticulum of urinary bladder of a 59-year-old man, transverse plane
Bladder diverticula containing stones. Also note that the bladder wall is thickened due to possible transitional cell carcinoma.
  • Bladder diverticulum: Balloon-like growths on the bladder commonly associated with a chronic outflow obstruction, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia in older males. Usually found in pairs on opposite sides of the bladder, bladder diverticula are often surgically removed to prevent infection, rupture, or even cancer.
  • Cardiac diverticulum: A very rare congenital malformation of the heart that is usually benign [1]
  • Colonic diverticula: These can become infected (see diverticulitis) and can perforate, requiring surgery
    Large bowel (sigmoid colon) showing multiple diverticula. Note how the diverticula appear on either side of the longitudinal muscle bundle (taenium).
  • Diverticulum of Kommerell: unusual nomenclature, in that focal dilatations of a blood vessel are properly referred to as aneurysms
  • Duodenal and jejunal diverticul(um|a): congenital lesions, may be a source of bacterial overgrowth, may perforate and may result in abscesses
  • Epiphrenic diverticulum: due to dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter, as in achalasia

Diverticula may occur in one of the three areas of the esophagus - the pharyngoesophageal, the midesophageal area or the epiphrenic area of esophagus. Zenker's diverticulum is found three times more frequently in men than in women. It occurs posteriorly through the cricopharyngeal muscle in the midline of the neck. Usually seen in people older than 60 years of age.

Most of these pathological types of diverticulum are capable of harboring an enterolith. If the enterolith stays in place, it may cause no problems, but a large enterolith expelled from a diverticulum into the lumen can cause obstruction.



  1. ^ Vazquez-Jimenez, Dr. Jaime (2003). "Cardiac diverticulum" (PDF). Orphanet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-01-14. 
  2. ^ Velanovich, V. (1994). "Gastric diverticulum". Surgical Endoscopy. 8 (11): 1338–1339. doi:10.1007/BF00188296. PMID 7831610. 
  3. ^ Stunell, H; Buckley, O; Geoghegan, T; O’Brien, J; Ward, E; Torreggiani, W (2008). "Imaging of adenomyomatosis of the gall bladder". Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology. 52 (2): 109–117. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1673.2008.01926.x. ISSN 1754-9477.