What is a Colon Resection and How Can it Benefit Diverticulitis?

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Patients who suffer from diverticulitis may need to have a surgical procedure called a colon resection. This surgical procedure involves removing either the entire colon or part of it. This procedure is most often used when other treatments have failed or if the patient has a severe case that causes them great pain and other significant symptoms.

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a condition in which pouches called diverticula occur in the colon wall. These pouches then become infected or inflamed. The exact cause is not known, but any infections or inflammations occur due to bacteria getting trapped in the diverticula. This condition can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. They often experience lower left abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, gas and bloating and constipation or diarrhea. They may also experience chills and fever, particularly if they have an infection.

Purpose of This Procedure

This procedure is ultimately performed to treat diverticulitis. This procedure is especially important for patients who suffer from diverticulitis in combination with certain other medical conditions. These other medical conditions include volvulus or twist, bowel obstruction, bleeding ateriovenous malformations, strictures, inflammatory bowel disease, fistulas, colon cancer, abscesses or Crohn’s disease.

Procedure Description

Patients undergoing a colon resection for diverticulitis will be put to sleep under general anesthesia for the procedure. If they have the laparoscopic surgery performed, three or four incisions will be made so that the laparoscope and other necessary surgical instruments can be inserted. The abdomen will then be filled with carbon dioxide so that the abdominal cavity will be visible for the surgeon. A camera will be inserted and then the surgeon will perform the surgery. If the laparoscopic version of the surgery cannot be performed an open will be. During an open surgery the resection will be performed just like it is during the laparoscopic version, but a much larger, single incision will be made for the surgeon to work through.

Possible Complications

This is a surgical procedure so complications can occur. Some patients may experience adverse or allergic reactions to the medications and anesthesia used. Other typical surgical risks include infection and bleeding. Complications specific to this surgery include anastomotic dehiscence, and injury to the bowel, ureter or spleen.


After the surgery the majority of patients will remain in the hospital for three to seven days, with a shorter stay for patients who have had the laparoscopic version. Pain medication will be prescribed and the patient will need to take it easy for awhile until they completely heal. Most patients do well with this surgery and experience a significant decrease in their symptoms. Many patients will even be symptom-free after this surgery.


WebMD. (2009). Diverticulitis. Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from Website: https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/tc/diverticulitis-topic-overview

Baylor College of Medicine. (2009). What is a Colon Resection and Why is it Necessary? Retrieved on August 27, 2009 from Website: https://www.debakeydepartmentofsurgery.org/home/content.cfm?proc_name=colon%20resection