Diverticulosis of the colon is a common condition that afflicts about 50% of Americans by age 60 and nearly 80% by age 80. However only a small percentage of those with diverticulosis have symptoms, and even fewer will ever require surgery.
Diverticula are pockets that develop in the colon wall, usually in the sigmoid colon, but may involve the entire colon. Diverticulosis describes the presence of these pockets. Diverticulitis describes inflammation or complications of these pockets.
Diverticulitis is an infection – most often in the sigmoid – and often presents with pain, chills, fever and change in bowel habits. The pain is characteristically left lower abdomen but may be in the lower abdomen and sometimes on the right side. More intense symptoms such as severe pain and high fever and difficulty passing bowel movements can be associated with serious complications such as a perforation with an abscess.
Patients with diverticulitis may present in various ways. Some patients have rare and minor flare ups that respond quickly to antibiotics. Others have more severe or more frequent attacks and antibiotics tend to be required for longer periods of time.
We specialize in the use of modern surgical methods to treat diverticulitis with quick recovery.
If you suffer from diverticulitis, surgery may be the best option for you. Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery are great options for diverticulitis. We specialize in these minimally invasive techniques that get you feeling better quicker and safer.
Chief, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital