Treating Diverticulitis: Partial Colectomy



UW Health surgeons at UW Hospital and Clinics perform partial colectomy, a procedure to treat complications of diverticulosis. Diverticulitis is a condition in which small pouches that have formed along the colon wall (or diverticulosis) become infected from trapped feces and bacteria. A partial colectomy is a surgical procedure which removes the diseased portion of the colon and reattaches the remaining healthy parts in order to maintain function.


The Procedure


Not everyone with diverticulitis requires surgery. Surgery may be recommended to treat diverticulitis in patients who either haven’t responded to other treatment options, have repeated episodes, experience chronic pain, or have additional conditions such as a bowel obstruction, a fistula or an abscess.


Diverticulitis is treated with a partial colectomy (or a bowel resection) which is the surgical removal of the diseased portion of the colon. Patients are under general anesthesia throughout the procedure. In traditional open surgery, a single long incision is made in the abdomen through which the surgeon operates. A laparoscopic or robotic partial colectomy is a minimally invasive approach which only requires four to five small incisions, one for the laparoscope itself, and other incisions for the other surgical instruments. Surgeons use these instruments to detach the colon from surrounding tissue and extract it out through a small incision in the abdomen. Once the diseased portion has been removed, the surgeon will reattach the remaining healthy portions of the colon, so stool may pass through the colon as before. In rare cases, surgeons may not be able to reattach the upper portion of your colon to the remaining rectum. In these instances, the surgeon may create a colostomy. A colostomy creation is a procedure in which the colon is brought through an opening made in the abdominal wall, allowing waste to vacate into an external bag.


The Difference of Minimally Invasive


There are numerous benefits to having this procedure performed laparoscopically or robotically rather than with the traditional open method:

  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain post-operatively
  • Fewer post-operative complications
  • Cosmetic appeal - Rather than one long incision across the abdomen, small, barely visible incisions are placed on the abdomen.