Surgical treatment of diverticulitis and its complications: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials

Surgeon. 2018 Dec;16(6):372-383. doi: 10.1016/j.surge.2018.03.011. Epub 2018 Jul 20.


Purpose: The surgical interventions of diverticulitis vary according to its grade and severity. There is a controversy about the best of these different surgical procedures. We aimed to systematically review and meta-analyze randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing outcomes and complications between different surgical approaches for acute diverticulitis and its complications.

Methods: Nine electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched for RCTs comparing different surgical procedures for different grades of diverticulitis. The risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration tool. The protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42015032290).

Results: Outcome data were analyzed from five RCTs comparing laparoscopic sigmoid resection (LSR) (n = 247) versus open sigmoid resection (OSR) (n = 237) for treatment of acute complicated diverticulitis with minimal heterogeneity. There was no significant difference in short-term postoperative overall morbidity (risk ratio (RR) 0.89, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.61-1.31; P = 0.56) and long-term postoperative major morbidity (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.46-1.31, P = 0.34). In other six RCTs compared laparoscopic lavage with resection for treatment of perforated diverticulitis with peritonitis, the postoperative mortality rate was non-significant in both short-term (RR 1.55, 95% CI 0.79-3.04; P = 0.21) and long-term (RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.29-1.58; P = 0.36) follow up.

Conclusions: LSR is not superior over OSR regarding postoperative morbidity and mortality for acute symptomatic diverticulitis. Furthermore, laparoscopic lavage was proved to be as safe as resection for perforated diverticulitis with peritonitis. Further RCTs are still needed to make an accurate decision regarding these and other procedures.

Keywords: Diverticulitis; Laparoscopic lavage; Laparoscopic resection; Open resection; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Colectomy / adverse effects*
  • Colon, Sigmoid / surgery
  • Diverticulitis / complications
  • Diverticulitis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Peritonitis / complications
  • Peritonitis / therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Therapeutic Irrigation