• Joel Bauer MD
  • Stephen Gorfine MD
  • David Chessin MD
  • Daniel Popowich MD

Colon Resection for Diverticulitis

Colon Resection for Diverticulitis

How Our Colorectal Surgeons Can Help

Colonic diverticuli are small outpouching of the colonic wall that most commonly occur of the left side of the abdomen in the sigmoid colon. Diverticulitis is inflammation of the colon resulting from blockage of a colonic diverticuli. Patients with diverticulitis may have symptoms of left-sided abdominal pain, fevers, and change in bowel habits.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The first step in diagnosing diverticulitis is a history and physical examination. Other studies that may be done include blood tests and plain abdominal X-rays. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis often is used to make the diagnosis, as well as identify complications of diverticulitis (such as abscess, obstruction, or fistula).

Following recovery from an attack of diverticulitis, a colonoscopy is often performed to evaluate the large intestine for other lesions, such as colon cancer.

The treatment of diverticulitis varies based upon the severity of the attack. This includes:

  • For mild attacks, oral antibiotics, consumption of a liquid diet, and rest at home
  • For more severe attacks, hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics may be recommended
  • For associated abscesses, drainage using CT scan guidance may be included in the treatment
  • For severe cases, immediate surgery may be undertaken

In patients who recover from an attack, surgery on an elective basis following recovery may be recommended. The recommendation for elective surgery is based upon the age and clinical appearance of the patient, as well as the severity of the attack of diverticulitis.

Colon resection for diverticulitis is often performed to treat an acute flare of the disease, to prevent recurrence of the disease or to treat complications. It is performed in the hospital and you will be admitted following the procedure.

Preparation & Anesthesia

The night prior to the procedure, you will be instructed to take nothing to eat or drink after midnight. In addition, you will be prescribed a bowel preparation. The preparation should be taken as instructed.

For a colon resection, you will receive general anesthesia, in which you are completely asleep and monitored at all times by an anesthesiologist.

Operation

After anesthesia is established, an incision will be made in your abdomen and the colon containing the cancer will be identified. The segment of colon with the cancer will be removed, and the two ends reconnected (anastomosis). Rarely, a diverting stoma (bag) will be performed. Often a stoma is performed to maximize the safety of the operation for you. You will have a dressing placed over the operative site.

Postoperative Care

Following a colon resection for diverticulitis, you will be admitted to the hospital. You will receive pain medication and intravenous fluid. You may receive antibiotics. Once bowel function returns, as evidenced by passage of gas or stool, your diet will be advanced. Once you tolerate a diet, and have no signs of fever or other complications of the surgery, you will be discharged from the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication.

In the 1-2 weeks following surgery, you will see your surgeon for a follow-up appointment. In the intervening time period, you should call your surgeon with any questions or concerns. Contact Manhattan Surgical Associates online or by calling 646.798.4606.

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