Diverticulitis is a medical condition characterized by pain and tenderness in the lower left abdomen. It is caused by an inflammation of the diverticula, which are pouches in the large intestine or in other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.
This condition can be successfully treated with medication, specific diet and lifestyle changes if it is caught early on. However, in advanced stages, severe cases and in cases where there is no response to medication, surgery may be required.
There are several types of diverticulitis surgery, and the appropriate one is chosen basing on the patient’s history, age, general health and presence of other medical conditions, if any. In conventional surgery, an incision is made in the abdominal wall, near the colon, and a part of the sigmoid colon is removed, which is called partial colectomy.
However, today most doctors, as well as patients, opt for laparoscopy as a less invasive surgical procedure in which the diseased colon is removed and the healthy parts are reconnected.
Should the patient need more than one surgery, colostomy will have to be performed, allowing prompt recovery while waiting for the second surgery.
Diverticulitis surgery recovery
Laparoscopic colectomy, compared to traditional surgery, has much less side effects, complications and risks, as well as shorter recovery time. This is why laparoscopy is the procedure of choice in many cases. However, there are cases when diverticulitis is severe and can only be managed in traditional surgery.
The patient will be required to stay in the hospital from two to six days, depending on the type of surgery. During that time, he or she will be monitored for infections and other complications.
Immediately after the surgery, the patient will receive the food intravenously. Diet plan for postoperative period is based on low residue food types, meaning foods low in fiber. This allows easy digestion and provides the time for the colon to heal. During the recovery, the patient will have to take plenty of rest, avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activity. Normal activities can be resumed in 30 or 45 days after the surgery.
In case a patient needs a second surgery, he or she will have to wait at least two months. During that period, the patient will have to follow a strict diet and to avoid unhealthy habits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Even after the successful surgery the patient will need to make long-term dietary changes so diverticulitis does not reoccur.