Infected or inflamed pouches that have formed in your colon is called diverticulitis. It can be painful.

If your diverticulitis is severe and nonsurgical treatments have not successfully controlled your problem, you may need surgery to remove part of your colon.

This can be done through open surgery or laparoscopy. With open surgery, a single incision is made in the abdomen. With laparoscopy, surgery is done using special instruments inserted through small incisions. Your doctor will discuss your surgical options with you. In some severe cases of infection, emergency surgery may be necessary.

Preparing for Surgery: Before surgery, you may be asked to drink a laxative solution and follow a clear diet to cleanse your colon. A doctor will tell you about the type of anesthetic that will be used to keep you asleep and pain-free during surgery.

Resection: To remove the problem area, an incision is made in your abdomen and the affected section is taken out. Diverticula in other parts of your colon usually do not need to be removed.

To reconnect the colon, the two remaining ends are reattached. In some cases, a procedure called a colostomy is needed to create a temporary opening for waste elimination.

As You Recover: Since your colon will not be able to handle solid food right away, you will be given IV medications and fluids for a few days after surgery. Within a day or two you will get up and walk around. This improves both your circulation and your bowel function. The nurses will help you with breathing exercises to prevent lung problems. You will go home in about a week. Once you are home, you will probably be back to your normal routine within 3 to 6 weeks.