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Diverticulitis Treatment in San Jose CA

Diverticulitis is a condition that occurs when diverticula on the gastrointestinal tract become inflamed or infected. Problems with the diverticula usually stem from a tear within them.

Colorectal Surgeon Aaron B. Parrish, MD is board-certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery and the American Board of Surgery. He has extensive experience diagnosing and treating diverticulitis. If you’re experiencing symptoms of diverticulitis in the San Jose area, call Dr. Parrish today to schedule an appointment at (408) 358-2868.

What Are Diverticula?

Diverticula are protrusions from the wall of the colon that are formed from high pressure at weak areas inside the colon. These diverticula are harmless, and are even quite common among those over the age of 40. Typically, you will find diverticula forming in the lower end of the large intestine, also called the colon. While there is no definite cause of diverticulitis, we suspect that the “Western Diet” of low fiber, fatty foods, and red meat predisposes one to develop diverticula.

Common Symptoms of Diverticulitis

Patients that have been diagnosed with diverticulitis normally report signs and symptoms such as:

  • Pain and tenderness of the abdomen, usually lasting for several days
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting

It is always advised to seek medical attention if you are experiencing constant pain in your abdomen. This pain could be a warning of many different types of diseases or injuries, all of which require proper diagnosis and treatment by a licensed medical professional.

Adequate rest and antibiotics are often all that is needed to treat cases of diverticulitis that are detected early on, which is what happens a majority of the time. However, you may experience more severe symptoms and complications as the condition worsens over time.

Diagnosing Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is usually diagnosed after having classic symptoms of severe left lower abdominal pain and improves with bowel rest and antibiotics. For severe forms of diverticulitis, a CT scan is often performed. A confirmation with a colonoscopy 6 weeks after an attack is required to make sure that there is not a perforated colon cancer causing these symptoms.

Diverticulitis Treatment Options

Uncomplicated or mild diverticulitis typically resolves with bowel rest, or nothing to eat or drink by mouth with IV fluid hydration and antibiotics. For severe forms, a CT scan should be done to rule out an abscess or perforation. Abscesses can typically be drained by a radiologist. Emergency surgery for perforated diverticulitis is rarely required anymore, however when it is, patients typically end up with a temporary colostomy bag.

There is no absolute number of attacks in which elective surgery to remove the affected portion of colon is required. Elective colon surgery for diverticulitis is decided on a case by case basis and consultation with a surgeon such as Dr. Parrish is recommended. If one has complications from diverticulitis such as fistulas or strictures, surgery is typically recommended.

Why Robotic Surgery?

Dr. Parrish feels the robotic approach provides the quickest patient recovery and least postoperative pain for the patient. In addition, the anastomosis or “connection” is performed inside of the body which decreases the rate of wound infections.

The da Vinci Xi robot is typically used for this procedure.

The Procedure

Before surgery patients should have a consultation with their surgeon to review any imaging, colonoscopies, and history. A personalized approach is then created for that patient. A bowel preparation consisting of SUTAB prep mixed with electrolytes as well as oral antibiotics are provided for the patient prior to surgery. Patients should continue to stay active and exercise up until the date of surgery.

The affected portion of the colon is removed down to the junction with the rectum. This decreases risk of recurrence of diverticulitis as compared with only taking out only the affected segment. In order to do this the entire left portion of the colon is mobilized inside the body. The robot can facilitate this dissection and provide maximal visualization.

Schedule a Diverticulitis Consultation

If you’re experiencing symptoms of diverticulitis in the San Jose, CA area, contact surgeon Aaron Parrish, MD today to schedule an appointment. Give our Los Gatos office a call at (408) 358-2868. Dr. Parrish sees patients in the San Jose communities of Los Gatos, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Salinas, Hollister, and Monterey.

Diverticulitis Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Main Cause of Diverticulitis?

Typically, diverticulitis develops when weak areas in your colon give way under pressure. This causes marble-sized pouches to unnaturally push through, most often, the colon wall.

What Does a Diverticulitis Attack Feel Like?

Most people with diverticulitis report common symptoms of a sharp cramp-like pain, usually on the left side of your lower abdomen. You may experience other symptoms such as fever and chills, nausea, vomiting, and constipation, or diarrhea.

Can Diverticulitis Go Away on Its Own?

Typically, yes. Diverticulitis symptoms don’t last longer than a week for most people. Only rarely is surgery necessary.

How Do People Get Diverticulitis?

This condition forms when weak spots in your intestinal wall balloon are pushed outward which then becomes inflamed and even infected. This can occur when feces or partially digested food blocks the opening of the diverticula.

What Foods Can Trigger Diverticulitis?

Currently, there are no foods known to trigger symptoms of diverticulitis and no special diet has shown to decrease symptoms. However, increasing fiber and decreasing animal fat may help.

Is Walking Good for Diverticulitis?

Several studies suggest that yes, vigorous activities such as walking or running, can reduce symptoms and flare-ups of diverticulitis.