Diverticulitis is a bowel condition resulting in the formation of pouches on the colon. This formation contributes to inflammation and irritation. Patients suffering from this condition get its treatment through diet and medication. If the treatment fails, the doctor recommends surgery.
There are several types of surgery to treat diverticulitis. Which surgery type a patient gets recommended depends on overall health, possible complications, and ability to recover.
When to have diverticulitis surgery?
Diverticulitis refers to the inflammation of pouches in the colon. These pouches are known as diverticula. Diverticulitis is usually identifiable through the following symptoms.
- Stomach pain
- Painful infections
- Stomach cramps
Surgery is not required in most cases of diverticulitis. Doctors treat this condition with the help of antibiotics, probiotics, or fiber. However, surgery may become the only option if the above treatments fail to produce any favorable results. Doctors also recommend surgery when an emergency colon perforation doesn’t respond to other treatments.
In case of an acute diverticulitis attack, the patient will need to be hospitalized. Doctors will administer fluids intravenously or give pain medication to control symptoms.
Because of the element of risk involved in diverticulitis surgery, the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) recommends it only in some specific circumstances.
- Surgery may become crucial if the colon has ruptured, causing leaks inside the abdominal cavity. This problem requires immediate surgical intervention.
- The doctor will recommend surgery if draining an abscess becomes impossible.
- Severe symptoms that fail to respond to conservative treatment methods may also necessitate surgery.
- Severe weakness of the immune system is also the reason you may need surgery.
Types of diverticulitis surgery
Regardless of the type of surgery, you may have to undergo, the surgeon will first administer general anesthesia. It means you will not be conscious during the procedure.
To make sure that surgery remains on the right track, the surgeon first identifies the location of diverticulitis on the colon. Other factors include the patient’s overall health and the surgeon’s experience.
Here are the types of diverticulitis surgery.
- Let’s start with the least invasive option. It is called laparoscopic surgery. It involves making several small incisions in the abdomen to access internal organs. The surgeon passes tools and equipment through these incisions to carry out the surgery.
- The most common type of diverticulitis surgery is colon resection. The surgeon will cut the colon, remove damaged pockets, and reconnect two healthy ends. Alternatively, he may create a colostomy to allow you to pass out stools through the stoma on the abdomen. That will necessitate wearing an ostomy bag the entire time to manage stool evacuations.
- In some cases, the surgeon pulls out a loop of the small intestine through an incision in the abdomen. That loop makes a stoma, and the ostomy created as a result is called a loop ileostomy. It is a temporary measure to allow the infected or inflamed part of the bowel to heal before the surgeon reverses the stoma.
Surgery influences the life of a patient temporarily or permanently, depending on the type of surgery performed. After that, the patient has to be careful with his or her diet and other routine activities. The good thing is that diverticulitis surgery eliminates the root cause of the problem, meaning that the patient regains the ability to eat anything he or she likes and engage in favorite physical activities. The recovery phase may last a few weeks, so coming back to the usual routine should be a gradual affair.