Diverticulitis - Surgery
diverticulitis involves removing the diseased part of
the colon. You may decide to have surgery for diverticulitis if you
- Repeated attacks of diverticulitis. Surgery
to remove the diseased part of the colon often is recommended if you have two
or more severe attacks.
- A high risk of repeated attacks (such as in people younger than age 40, or people with an impaired immune system).
- An abnormal opening (fistula) that has formed between the
colon and an adjacent organ, most commonly the bladder, uterus, or
Surgery for diverticulitis, in which the infected part of
the colon is removed, may be required if you have
- An infected pouch (diverticulum ) that has
ruptured into the abdominal cavity, especially if a pocket of infection (abscess) has formed. In some cases, an abscess can be
drained without surgery. (See Other Treatment.)
- An infection that has spread into the abdominal cavity
- A blocked colon (bowel
obstruction) or a narrow spot in
the colon (stricture).
- Infection that has spread through the blood to other
parts of the body (sepsis).
- Repeated problems with bleeding or severe bleeding that
does not stop with other treatments.
Overall, fewer than 6 out of 100 people who have diverticulitis
involves removing the diseased part of the large intestine (partial colectomy )
and reconnecting the remaining parts. Depending on the severity and nature of
the symptoms, more than one surgery may be needed to correct the problem. When
multiple surgeries are needed, the person usually has a
colostomy during the time between surgeries. A
colostomy is a surgical procedure in which the upper part of the intestine is
sewn to an opening made in the skin of the abdomen. Stool passes out of the
body at this opening and into a disposable bag. Usually the colostomy is
removed at a later time and the intestine is reconnected.
Surgical treatment of diverticulitis, called
bowel resection, involves the removal of the
diseased part of the large intestine.
What to think about
People who have mild, brief
attacks and who are willing to try long-term dietary changes may be able to
avoid surgery. See the Prevention section of this topic for more information on
If you have multiple attacks of diverticulitis, surgery may