ZocdocAnswersCan diverticulitis require intestine removal?

Question

Can diverticulitis require intestine removal?

I'm a 52-year-old man, and my doctor thinks I have diverticulitis. She said that if tests confirm it, I will probably have to get surgery. Will diverticulitis surgery mean that I have to get pieces of my intestine removed?

Answer

To answer this question, I think I will start by explaining what diverticulitis is. Diverticulitis is an infection of a diverticulum. A diverticulum is an out-pouching of the intestinal wall. Having many diverticuli is called having diverticulosis. Sometimes, pieces of stool and other material get stuck inside a diverticulum resulting in a small abscess. When a patient presents with the classic diverticulitis (abdominal pain, fever, plus evidence on a CT scan), the usual care is to treat the patient with fluids, possibly antibiotics, and monitor them. If this is your first episode of diverticulitis, then you generally won't need immediate surgery. If you have had more than one episode, then you will likely benefit from having a portion of your large intestine removed. This surgery will not likely cause any long term complications and will prevent diverticulitis from returning. The best type of physician for you to see about this is a general surgeon. Surgeon's have a set criteria for who needs to have part of their large intestine removed. If you do not qualify yet (only had one episode of diverticulitis), then you can try to prevent it from happening again by avoiding foods with seeds. If you do qualify for the surgery, it will prevent those diveritculi from causing you a problem again.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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