Diverticulitis and Benign Colon and Rectal Disease

Diverticulosis is a common condition that occurs when outpouchings develop and make their way out of weak spots in a person’s colon. These outpouchings typically form in the lower part of the colon, referred to as the sigmoid colon. If just one pouch develops, it is called a diverticulum. In the event multiple pouches form, they are called diverticula. In most cases, people suffering from diverticulosis do not display any symptoms or have any known problems. However, when a person starts to display symptoms or has problems related to infection of these outpouchings, it is called diverticulitis.

An estimated 20 percent of people experience complications associated with diverticulosis, including rectal bleeding. When the diverticula becomes inflamed and infected, it is considered diverticulitis. This usually occurs when the sacs become blocked with waste, resulting in a buildup of bacteria and infection. Approximately 10 percent of people over the age of 40 and 50 percent of people over the age of 60 develop diverticulitis at some point in their lives. As the numbers show, the risk of diverticulitis increases with age. In fact, nearly every single person over the age of 80 will have diverticulitis. This condition can be difficult to diagnose because it typically does not have any troublesome symptoms. In some cases people complain of tenderness in the affected area or abdominal cramps. The experienced surgeons at our Mansfield clinic will be able to provide you with additional insight on the symptoms and examine you to see if you are suffering from one of the conditions mentioned above.

How is Diverticulitis Diagnosed?

In most cases, a patient is diagnosed with diverticulitis when other tests or exams are being conducted. However, if your physician suspects you are suffering from diverticulitis, he or she may use the following tests to confirm the diagnosis:
  • Blood test
  • CT scan
  • Lower GI series
  • Colonoscopy
If one of these tests shows that you do have diverticulitis, there are several different treatment options. If you are experiencing diverticular bleeding, it can be severe and should be treated right away. If the bleeding does not stop on its own, your surgeon may perform abdominal surgery with a colon resection, at which point he will remove the affected part of your colon and connect the remaining ends together.

Colon Resection Surgery

Colon resection for diverticulitis is a common surgery that can be performed by our surgeons. We offer this type of surgery robotically, making the experience and recovery much easier on the patient. This type of procedure is necessary in the event diverticulitis is not responding to medical treatment. During a colon resection surgery, your surgeon will drain any intra-abdominal abscesses and then surgically remove the segment of colon where the infection is present (typically the sigmoid colon). If a patient is experiencing persistent bleeding in the area, surgery may also be necessary. If the diverticula erodes into other organs (such as the bladder), resulting in a serious urine infection or passage of gas during urination, colon resection surgery may be required. Lastly, if a portion of the rectum is involved, a partial rectal resection may be required which can be performed by our Colon and Rectal surgeon.

Colostomy Reversal

We offer a minimally invasive colostomy reversal procedure for patients who have a temporary colostomy or ileostomy (reconnection of the bowel). We have robotically trained surgeons who have the experience to reverse ostomies by a minimally invasive approach. Even those colostomies or ileostomies which are deemed “irreversible” or “permanent” can be evaluated by our Colon and Rectal surgeon who will typically be able to reverse the stoma through a robotic approach.

Robotic Pelvic Floor Reconstruction

Pelvic organ prolapse is a common condition that occurs when the muscles and connective tissues of a woman’s pelvis become weakened. When this happens the muscles and tissues stretch or even tear, resulting in risk to the pelvic organs - such as uterus, cervix, bladder, rectum, and small bowel. Here at Surgical Associates of Mansfield, we evaluate and treat pelvic floor conditions using a multidisciplinary approach, including cine or magnetic resonance defecography, anal manometry, and pelvic floor physical therapy, in conjunction with cutting-edge robotic pelvic floor reconstruction for patients experiencing the above. In the event surgery is necessary, we will likely recommend robotic pelvic floor reconstruction performed by our Colon and Rectal surgeon, Dr. Winston Chan. This procedure is extremely successful in rebuilding the pelvic floor, keeping the organs, muscles, and tissues safe.

Small Bowel Tumors

Small bowel tumors are typically rare, but do happen on occasion. In most cases the tumors are single, but certain conditions carry multiple tumors (such as intestinal polyposis syndrome). Small bowel tumors can be both benign and malignant, and in some cases benign tumors can progress and turn malignant. If you have a small bowel tumor, we may recommend the removal of it using a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.

To learn more about diverticulitis and when colon resection surgery is necessary, please do not hesitate to contact Surgical Associates of Mansfield. Our knowledgeable surgical staff are committed to putting each and every patient and their health first. We understand how important our health is to you and are here to do everything we can to alleviate your symptoms, which may mean surgery. If you are unsure whether or not you need colon resection surgery or would like to learn more about the procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us.