What is Diverticular Disease Surgery?

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  • Written By: Mary Ellen Popolo
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Diverticular disease surgery is the removal of the diseased portion of the colon. It is also referred to as a partial colectomy. The remaining sections of the colon are surgically joined together. Diverticular disease, or diverticulitis, occurs when the diverticula become infected or inflamed. The semoid colon is the part of the large intestine closest to the rectum and most commonly affected by diverticulitis.

Many people who suffer from diverticular disease do not require surgery. Complications of the illness may necessitate diverticular disease surgery in order to eliminate severe symptoms. An infected diverticulum that has ruptured into the abdominal cavity, bowel obstruction, and infection that has spread into the abdominal cavity or through the blood to other parts of the body are a few examples of severe complications of diverticulitus that may require surgery. Other problems that make surgery a consideration include a partially blocked colon, repeated problems with intestinal bleeding, and an abnormal opening which has formed between the large intestine and an adjacent organ.

Symptoms of diverticular disease often include fever accompanied by discomfort or tenderness in the lower left part of the abdomen. Doctors confirm the diagnosis with a computed tomography scan, ultrasound, and colonoscopy. Patients experiencing severe symptoms may be hospitalized, treated with antibiotics through an intravenous, and then given diverticular disease surgery.


Surgery for diverticular disease is performed under general anesthesia. Surgical removal of the diseased portion of the colon can be done via open surgery where the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen to access the colon. Laparoscopic surgery is an alternative for open surgery and provides benefits such as a quicker recovery time and shorter hospital stay. Laparoscopic surgery may not be an option in cases of complicated diverticular disease.

Diverticular disease surgery is either done as a one-stage or two-stage operation. In a one-stage operation, a partial colectomy is performed removing the diseased portion of the colon and surgically joining the remaining sections of the colon together. Recovery from a one-stage operation usually requires a short hospital stay and the total recovery time is approximately 6 to 8 weeks.

In a two-stage operation, two separate surgeries are performed. The first surgery removes the diseased portion of the colon and the remaining upper section of the colon is attached to the skin through a temporary opening made in the abdominal wall. A colostomy bag is attached to the skin which is used to drain stool. The second surgery rejoins the remaining ends of the colon together, restores normal bowel function and closes the temporary hole in the skin. The time between the first and second surgery is usually 6 to 12 weeks and recovery time after the second surgery is usually 6 to 8 weeks.


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