Definition

Diverticulitis is an infection due to a micro perforation of a diverticulum.

Causes

Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticulum ruptures, most likely because of increased pressure within the lumen of the bowel, and results in a localized infection.  

Symptoms

Symptoms may include abdominal pain, chills, fever, or change in bowel habits.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Patient with diverticulitis can present in a variety of ways – anything from nagging recurrent episodes of acute disease, to chronic low grade abdominal pain, to the unfortunate case of a perforated colon and peritonitis. Our surgeons have vast experience with treating the broad spectrum of patients with diverticular disease. Whether we first see the patient in an office visit or during an admission to the hospital, we will review the history of the disease with the patient, recommend the appropriate evaluation (often a CT scan of the abdomen and eventually a colonoscopy), and determine if an operation is appropriate. The majority of elective colon operations for diverticular disease can be accomplished laparoscopically. Laparoscopic surgeries limit the size of the abdominal incision, shorten the hospital stay and result in less discomfort in the post-operative period.

Diverticulitis complications can result in bowel perforation, abscesses, or infection into another organ. Mild cases can be managed with oral antibiotics and a modified diet. Severe cases require hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics and no food or fluid by mouth. Surgery becomes necessary with recurrent episodes, complications, or a poor response to medications. When surgery is required, the infected part of the colon is removed. Bowel activity typically returns in three to five days and becomes routine in approximately three weeks.

Visit the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website for more information