Diverticulosis is a condition that develops when tiny pouches called diverticula form in the digestive tract, most commonly in the colon, or large intestine. Over time, the pouches can become inflamed and infected, resulting in a condition called diverticulitis and causing symptoms like abdominal pain and tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fever, and constipation. Diverticula are relatively common over the age of 40, with symptoms only occurring when inflammation and infection develop.
Mild diverticulitis may be treated with rest, antibiotics and dietary changes to help the infected and inflamed area heal. More serious cases may require surgery to correct. Some patients require a colon resection, a surgical procedure that removes the damaged portion of the colon to relieve symptoms and prevent more widespread infection or other damage. Once the damaged portion is removed, the remaining ends of the colon are sutured together.
Colon resection may be performed using either a minimally-invasive approach with small incisions or using a traditional large-incision approach. Minimally-invasive surgery uses several small incisions and a special instrument called a laparoscope, which incorporates a tiny camera on one end. The camera captures real-time video of the bowel and sends the images to a monitor. Additional incisions allow instruments to be inserted so the surgery can be performed without the large incision used in traditional surgery. Colon resection may also be referred to as a colectomy.
Colon resection is typically performed in patients with:
Typically, diverticulitis that requires colon resection can be treated in one surgery, but in a few cases, multiple surgeries may be required. In those instances, a colostomy may be performed to bypass affected areas of the colon. In a colostomy, bowel wastes are diverted to a special pouch rather than moving through the colon to the rectum.