Consultant surgeon

Diverticular disease

The presence of diverticula (diverticulosis) especially in those over the age of 60 is so common that I regard it as a normal finding. It is only when the presence of diverticula causes symptoms that we can call it a disease. Inflammation in a segment of diverticulosis causing pain and fever is called diverticulitis, requiring antibiotics and if, severe, hospital admission.

Most people with diverticular disease or who have had diverticulitis, will never need surgery but for a few who develop complications, an operation is required.

Most operations can be planned and can therefore be successfully completed laparoscopically. The most frequent indication will be for symptoms arising from scarring in the bowel after previous inflammation causing blockages.

Another common reason for operation is when a diverticulum bursts into the bladder or vagina, in women with a previous hysterectomy. This causes an internal fistula and repeated infections. The following link provides a bit more information.

Diverticular disease diagram