Diverticula are small bulging pouches that form in the lining of the lower part of the large intestine also known as colon. The formation of these pouches is quite common in individuals above the age of 40 and is completely asymptomatic. However, sometimes these pouches or diverticula tend to get irritated, inflamed, or infected. This results in what is called as diverticulitis, which is an extremely painful condition causing severe pain in the lower abdominal region along with changes in bowel patterns with persistent bouts of nausea and vomiting. Mild cases of diverticulitis are normally treated with lifestyle and dietary modifications.
Is Surgery Necessary For Diverticulitis?
Coming to the question of whether surgery is required for treatment of diverticulitis then surgery is only required for severe cases of diverticulitis where there is significant damage to a part of the colon. Diverticulitis in its complicated form can be extremely disabling. Complicated diverticulitis occurs when there is development of an abscess and peritonitis, which is a condition in which there is inflammation of the abdominal lining which is caused by perforation in the colon.
The abscess which is formed can be drained, but the peritonitis that occurs due to complications of diverticulitis requires surgery where removal of the part of the diseased colon is done. This is called as resection.
The peritonitis occurs when an individual has multiple attacks of diverticulitis and has undergone multiple hospitalizations along with prolonged antibiotic usage. These attacks happen in close succession, which results in increasing the risk for a perforation resulting in peritonitis. There are also changes in bowel pattern as a result of narrowing of the colon and scarring.
This is the time when surgery is necessary for treatment of the condition. The surgery for diverticulitis can be done either laparoscopically or robotically, which avoids open surgery and even colostomy which are quite complicated procedures.
In conclusion, surgery is not always necessary for treatment of diverticulitis. Only under certain circumstances where there is perforation of the colon resulting in a condition called peritonitis, which is a complication of diverticulitis that occurs when there are multiple attacks of diverticulitis in quick succession, which requires prolonged hospitalization and long term antibiotic use, is when a surgery is necessary for treatment of diverticulitis.
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