If you are suffering from diverticulitis, you may be able to get relief with the help of diverticulitis surgery or partial colectomy, as it is known in medical jargon. The surgery involves surgically removing the part of the colon that is affected by the disease, and thereafter rejoining the two ends of the colon.
The surgery is usually recommended if the person had several severe attacks of diverticulitis. The surgery is also advisable for people suffering from impaired immune system, people who are less than 40 or if a fistula forms between the colon and a neighboring organ, such as the vagina, bladder or uterus. Doctors may perform the surgery if the person suffers from complications due to an infected diverticulum, infection in the abdomen, obstructed bowel, sepsis or profuse bleeding.
Over the years, medical science and associated technology have advanced quite a bit. The surgery can be done either by making an incision in the abdomen or it can be done using laparoscopy. The method of surgery depends on how severe the disease is. Usually, if there are no associated complication due to diverticulitis, surgeons prefer to use laparoscopy, which means a shorter hospital stay, shorter period of recovery and fewer chances of post-surgery complications.
Facts about Diverticulitis Surgery
Diverticulitis surgery can be performed in two ways. One involves just a single step wherein the diseased part of the colon is surgically removed and the two ends are then joined together. The second type may involve first removing the affected part of the colon and attaching the upper part to an abdominal opening. This is known as colostomy. The stools are eliminated from the body via the opening into a bag. This opening is maintained until the infection in the colon gets better. Thereafter, another surgery is done to rejoin the two ends of the colon. However, the type of surgery that a person requires is only decided at the time of the actual surgical procedure.
Typically, the single step surgery involves a hospital stay of 4 to 7 days, as long as there are no post-surgery complications. However, if the person undergoes laparoscopic surgery, the hospital stay time reduces. On the other hand, if the person undergoes the second type of surgery, the hospital stay is substantially longer, around 6 to 12 weeks.
The recovery time after a diverticulitis surgery is around 6 to 8 weeks. The surgery has a success rate of 89 percent. In other words, 12 out of 100 people may end up getting diverticulitis again after the surgery. However, these people may not require another surgery. Also, when the surgery is performed in two stages, some people may not have the second stage of the surgery, as the colon may not heal properly.
Possible Risks of Diverticulitis Surgery
As the surgery is performed under general anesthesia, there is a risk of complications due to the anesthesia. Other possible risks include profuse bleeding; post-surgery infection; injury or trauma to the neighboring organs, such as ureters, blood vessels or urinary bladder; or leaking of feces from the part of the colon where the two ends are joined.
Should You Have Diverticulitis Surgery?
It is best to have the surgery when the person does not suffer from an attack. This is because the chances are extremely high that the surgery will be done in a single step. On the other hand, an emergency surgery for diverticulitis may have to be done in two stages.
A person may not require the surgery if the attacks are not often and they do not have any associated complications. In such a case, the diverticulitis can be managed through intake of high fiber diet.