Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis Treated with Minimally Invasive Surgery

Diverticular disease includes conditions that develop as a result of the formation and inflammation of diverticula, small sacs within the lining of the colon.

Minimally invasive surgeons at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, treat diverticular disease, a condition that affects the intestines and may cause abdominal pain or rectal bleeding. Our doctors use advanced techniques that can improve recovery time and lessen discomfort from surgery.

About the Condition

What is the difference between Diverticulosis and Diverticulitis?

Diverticulosis is a condition in which small areas of the lining of the digestive tract bulge outward and form pouches or sacs (diverticula). Diverticula occur most often in the left side of the large intestine in the areas called the descending colon and the sigmoid colon. Diverticula are common in both men and women later in life.

Sometimes one or more of these pouches becomes inflamed or infected. This is called diverticulitis. It can lead to complications such as abscess, fistula (an abnormal connecting passage between the inflamed area and another part of the abdominal area), narrowing of the colon, or peritonitis (infection of the entire abdominal cavity).

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Diverticulosis may cause occasional bloating or abdominal discomfort, but most people have no symptoms may not even realize that they have this condition.

If diverticulitis develops it often happens as an acute attack. The following symptoms are likely to occur:

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain, usually on the lower left side
  • Pain can be severe, and may come and go
  • Abdominal tenderness and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

Your doctor will do a physical exam and order blood tests to check for signs of infection and abnormal bleeding. Other tests may be used to locate the infected area of the colon such as CT scan, Barium enema and colonoscopy.

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Treatment Options

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis can often be treated with antibiotics, rest and changes in diet. Hospitalization is sometimes necessary. Serious case may require surgery. Laparoscopic surgical techniques can be used to cut out the diseased area of diverticula. Then the healthy sections of the colon are reconnected.

Minimally Invasive Surgery for Colon Conditions

Minimally invasive surgery is often the treatment of choice for cases of diverticulosis and diverticulitis that do not respond to other treatment.

Advantages of minimally invasive surgery may include:

  • Little or no scarring
  • Less discomfort after surgery
  • Same day surgery or shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery time

Follow-up care is essential after treatment of diverticulosis and diverticulitis. New diverticula may form, but cause no symptoms in the beginning. Your doctor can recommend how often you should have physical checkups and colonoscopies.

Meet Our Doctors: Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally Invasive Surgery at Mercy - Baltimore
Thomas Swope, M.D.

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Dr. Thomas Swope, Director of the Center, performs advanced minimally invasive procedures, including robotic surgery using the da Vinci® surgical system.

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