Surgery for Diverticulitis

Laparoscopic diverticulitis surgery is offered at Surgical Associates of Marshall County  in Albertville and Guntersville, AL. By having surgery laparoscopically it helps reduce recovery time and prevent complications associated with any surgery.

Diverticulitis is a condition marked by small pouches of weakened colon wall (diverticula) that develop along the lining of the intestinal tissue that become infected or inflamed. These pouches most frequently develop in the colon. In severe situations, diverticulitis requires surgical intervention.

What is Diverticulitis?

The development of sacs or pouches in the colon lining is a condition known as diverticulosis. While diverticulosis is a generally harmless condition, over time the intestinal pouches can become inflamed and infected. Unlike diverticulosis, diverticulitis is marked by a number of painful symptoms and requires medical treatment.

Symptoms of diverticulitis include:

  • Pain in the lower left side of the abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unexpected weight loss

Once these intestinal pouches develop they will never go away on their own. When the pouches become irritated, the only way to completely remove the problem is through colon surgery.

Diverticulitis is generally diagnosed through a series of imagery examinations, such as:

  • CT scan
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • X-rays

Treatment for Diverticulitis

Mild cases of diverticulitis are often treated with dietary changes and antibiotics. However, these are generally temporary cures and do not often eliminate severe discomfort caused by the inflamed pouches.

When medical treatment does not succeed, your general surgeon may recommend or (colon surgery). This is completed through a laparoscopic or minimally invasive procedure using a laparoscope, a thin and flexible tube that is equipped with a light, camera and other surgical tools. Laparoscopic procedures are completed through several minor holes in the abdominal wall, which eliminates the need for a large incision and reduces the number of risks associated with the operation.

During the procedure, your surgeon will remove the damaged portion of the intestine and then re-attach the outer portions of the colon. You will be under a general anesthetic during the entire operation. Following surgery you will be restricted to a liquid diet and will be required to spend several days in the hospital while your colon heals.

Side Effects and Risks of Diverticulitis Surgery

The number of risks associated with the surgical treatment for diverticulitis is much lower thanks to laparoscopic surgical techniques. However, there are still risks associated with all operations.

Since diverticulitis surgery may require the removal of part of the colon, you must allow your colon time to heal before attempting to eat after surgery. Your surgeon will provide you with dietary guidelines for the greatest post-surgical comfort.

While the colon heals some patients are required to use a colostomy. A colostomy is a temporary opening of the colon through the abdominal wall. A drainage bag is placed around the opening to collect liquid stool. This temporary detour allows the part of the colon where the diverticulitis was removed to heal.

After the resection is healed, a second surgery will close the colostomy. In very severe cases of diverticulitis where large portions of diseased colon are removed, the colostomy may need to be permanent, but this is rare.

To learn more about laparoscopic diverticulitis surgery at Surgical Associates of Marshall County, please call 256-840-5547 (Albertville) or 256-571-8734 (Guntersville) or complete our online contact form.