Indications are that a low-fiber diet over the years creates increased colon pressure and results in pockets or diverticula.
It is important to individualize the many treatment options. Mild cases of diverticulitis may be managed without hospitalization, but this is a decision made by your physician. Treatment usually consists of oral antibiotics, dietary restrictions, hydration and possibly stool softeners. Severe cases may require hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics and strict dietary restraints. Most acute attacks can be relieved with such methods. We tried to take all necessary measure to avoid an emergency surgery and ‘cool down’ the disease process during an attack.
Surgery is generally reserved for recurrent episodes, complications and severe attacks or when there is little or no response to medication.
We perform surgery for diverticulitis using advanced techniques such as minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic colon surgery. These approaches avoid the large scar, results in much less pain and need for narcotics and carries a much lower risk of surgical complications.
In surgery, usually part of the colon – commonly the sigmoid colon – is removed and the colon is hooked up or “anastomosed” again to the rectum. Complete recovery can be expected. Normal bowel function usually resumes in about three weeks. With our advanced minimally invasive techniques, there is typically no need for a colostomy bag even in the most severe cases.
Diverticulitis is ideal for Laparoscopic or Robotic colon surgery because it avoids large scars, has fewer complications and gets you back on your feet far sooner than open surgery.
Chief, Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, Houston Methodist Hospital