A retrospective study of our experience with one-stage left colectomy for acute diverticulitis and obstruction with a review of the literature to more clearly define the indications of this procedure.
30 patients were operated for acute diverticulitis (group 1) and 47 for obstruction (group 2). Only 7 patients (23%) of group 1 had an intraoperative colonic lavage while this was performed for all the patients of group 2.
The postoperative morbidity and mortality for the patients of group 1 and 2 were 37 and 28%, and 7 and 11% respectively. None of the patients of group 1 had clinical anastomotic leak, while this occurred in 2 patients (4%) of group 2. The mean hospital stay was 26 days for patients of group 1 and 17 days for patients of group 2.
Bowel obstruction should be treated by one-stage left colectomy and intraoperative colonic lavage for patients with low anaesthetic risks (ASA 1 and 2). Immediate anastomosis protected by colostomy or ileostomy could be proposed for patients with an intermediate risk (ASA 3). Patients with acute diverticulitis and a localized abscess or peritonitis should be treated with one-stage colectomy; an immediate protected anastomosis could be performed in patients with generalized purulent peritonitis while a Hartmann's type colectomy should be the reasonable option for fecal generalized peritonitis. Intraoperative colonic lavage does not seem mandatory.