Defeating diverticulitis

August 07, 2019
Victor and Dr. Bozeman

Robotic-assisted surgery provides relief and peace of mind.

Victor Perez’s abdominal pain was unbearable the last time he went to St. Mary’s for emergency diverticulitis care. “I had to deal with it for years,” he says of his condition, which caused a rupture in his colon during the last flare-up. “You really have to watch what you eat and do,” he adds, explaining that certain foods could trigger a bad reaction.

Why it happens

Diverticular disease occurs when small pouches develop on the lining of the intestines, most commonly in the lower part of the colon. For many people, there are no symptoms. However, if the pouches become infected or inflamed, this causes diverticulitis. Along with severe abdominal pain, symptoms may include fever, nausea and vomiting, changes in bowel movements, and possibly other complications.

Life-changing treatment

Surgery is not always recommended, but Perez was a good candidate because of his recurrent flare-ups and because his diverticulitis was limited to the lower (sigmoid) portion of his colon, says physician assistant Megan Daniels, PA-C.

Perez already knew general surgeon M. Craig Bozeman, MD, and he felt confident choosing to have robotic-assisted surgery with him when Dr. Bozeman presented this option. With this minimally invasive approach, the surgeon sits at a console next to the patient and controls tiny instruments that are inserted into the body through small incisions. Benefits can include less scarring, reduced risk of infection, reduced post-operative pain, and shorter recovery and hospital time.

During the time he spent in the hospital, Perez enjoyed getting to know the hospital staff. “You’re not just a number,” he says. Six weeks after his procedure he was back at work, and today he’s able to eat what he wants with no more pain. Also, his stomach feels less bloated, and he can wear pants he hadn’t worn in years. “The recovery for me was terrific,” he says.

He used to worry about the possible complications of diverticular disease and is relieved that he can now put those concerns behind him since getting treated. “It kind of saved my life,” he says.

If you have concerns about your rectal or colon health, talk with your doctor. Specialized care at St. Mary’s can help with many conditions, from diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, fissures, abscesses and infections to ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and cancer.

For help finding a doctor, call 1-580-249-3741 or search for a doctor online.

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if robotic surgery is right for you.