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Diverticulitis Treatment and Surgical Options

Treatment for diverticulitis depends on how severe your symptoms are, how many episodes you have experienced, and your overall health. Generally, treatment and surgical options focus on getting rid of the inflammation and infection, resting the colon, and preventing or minimizing complications.

For mild to moderate symptoms, your doctor may recommend bed rest, medication, a pain reliever, and/or a change in diet.

Cases of diverticulitis with severe pain and complications may require a hospital stay. Most cases of severe diverticulitis are treated with antibiotics and a few days without food to help the colon rest. In some cases, surgery may be needed.


If medicine or lifestyle changes do not ease your symptoms, your doctor may recommend colon surgery (called a colectomy or colon resection. During surgery, doctors remove the affected part of your colon and the remaining healthy bowel is joined together. This reconnection of the colon is called an anastomosis.

The goal of surgery is to prevent complications and future diverticulitis. The doctor may also recommend a colectomy for complications such as a fistula or partial intestinal obstructions. A fistula is an abnormal connection of tissue between two organs or between an organ and the skin. A partial intestinal obstruction results from scarring (caused by infection) that blocks the intestine.

If surgery is recommended, your doctor can operate using open surgery through a large incision or using laparoscopic surgery through a few small incisions.

Open Surgery

With open surgery, also called laparotomy, your surgeon must make a large abdominal cut/incision to reach your colon and other organs. The incision must be large enough for your surgeon to fit his or her hands and surgical instruments inside your body. While open surgery allows your surgeon to see and touch your organs, it is invasive and can be traumatic on your body due to the large incision.

Traditional Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive – meaning surgeons operate through a few small incisions instead of a large open incision. During traditional laparoscopy, long-handled instruments are inserted through the incisions. One of the instruments is a laparoscope – a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera at the end. The camera takes images inside your body and those images are sent to a video monitor to guide surgeons as they operate on your colon.

da Vinci® Surgery

Another minimally invasive surgical option is da Vinci Surgery. With the da Vinci System, surgeons make just a few small incisions instead of a large open incision - similar to traditional laparoscopy. The da Vinci System features a magnified 3D high-definition vision system and special wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. As a result, da Vinci enables your doctor to operate with enhanced vision, precision, dexterity and control.

da Vinci is a minimally invasive approach that uses the latest in surgical and robotics technologies and is beneficial for performing complex surgery. Your surgeon is 100% in control of the da Vinci System, which translates his or her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside your body.

PN 1002200 Rev A 04/2013

  1. Diverticular Disease. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. Available from: http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/diverticular_disease/

Serious complications may occur in any surgery, including da Vinci® Surgery, up to and including death. Examples of serious or life-threatening complications, which may require prolonged and/or unexpected hospitalization and/or reoperation, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: injury to tissues/organs, bleeding, infection and internal scarring that can cause long-lasting dysfunction/pain. Risks of surgery also include the potential for equipment failure and/or human error. Individual surgical results may vary.

Risks specific to minimally invasive surgery, including da Vinci Surgery, include but are not limited to, one or more of the following: temporary pain/nerve injury associated with positioning; temporary pain/discomfort from the use of air or gas in the procedure; a longer operation and time under anesthesia and conversion to another surgical technique. If your doctor needs to convert the surgery to another surgical technique, this could result in a longer operative time, additional time under anesthesia, additional or larger incisions and/or increased complications.

Patients who are not candidates for non-robotic minimally invasive surgery are also not candidates for da Vinci® Surgery. Patients should talk to their doctor to decide if da Vinci Surgery is right for them. Patients and doctors should review all available information on non-surgical and surgical options in order to make an informed decision. For Important Safety Information, including surgical risks, indications, and considerations and contraindications for use, please also refer to www.davincisurgery.com/safety and www.intuitivesurgical.com/safety. Unless otherwise noted, all people depicted are models.

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