Diverticulosis and diverticulitis

Diverticulosis vs. Diverticulitis

Internal Medicine

31 Oct 2022 | 0 | by kjh

2561170login-checkDiverticulosis vs. Diverticulitis

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Diverticulosis is a condition that occurs when small pouches, or sacs, form and push outward through weak spots in the wall of your colon. These pouches form mostly in the lower part of your colon, called the sigmoid colon. One pouch is called a diverticulum. Multiple pouches are called diverticula. Most people who have diverticula in their colon do not have symptoms or problems. However, in some cases, diverticula may lead to symptoms or inflammation.

Diverticulitis occurs when the diverticula become inflamed. Diverticulitis can come on suddenly and may lead to severe complications. 

Most people with diverticulosis will never develop symptoms or problems. Experts aren’t sure how many people with diverticulosis will develop symptoms if they do not have diverticulitis. People are more likely to develop diverticulosis and diverticulitis as they age.

Dr. Joseph Carmichael, a UCI Health colon and rectal surgeon sees a lot of more complicated cases.  He says that severe cases can not only cause pain and extreme discomfort but also lead to bleeding, perforation, or blockage of the colon. Doctors are very successful in treating uncomplicated diverticulitis with antibiotics. But complicated cases almost always require surgery, Dr. Carmichael says.

In September, Dr. Carmichael performed minimally invasive surgery on a patient to remove two sections of bowel, including removal of a fistula, which is an abnormal, tubelike connection that forms between two organs in this case, the large intestine and the bladder. The surgery resulted in only a few small scars instead of a large incision and the need for a colostomy.

When the large intestine has become connected to the bladder through a fistula, patients at many hospitals usually undergo an open operation with large incisions and possibly a temporary ostomy bag, Dr. Carmichael says. But at UCI Health, laparoscopic surgery is the default approach. With laparoscopy, surgeons operate using instruments and cameras inserted through tiny incisions.

“About half of hospitals never try it, however, and in tough cases even fewer would try it,” Dr. Carmichael says. UCI Health ranks in the upper 10 percent of hospitals nationwide on colorectal resection results, based on surgical quality performance data.  

For more information visit:  https://www.ucihealth.org/locations/irvine/cddc-irvine and https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/diverticulosis-diverticulitis/definition-facts#diverticulosis

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