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Am Surg. 2014 Jul;80(7):635-9.

Percutaneous drainage of a diverticular abscess should be limited to two attempts for a resilient diverticular abscess.

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Department of Surgery, Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Michigan, USA.


Management of a resilient diverticular abscess poses a big challenge. Currently there are no guidelines for the number of percutaneous drainages to be performed in resilient diverticular abscesses before attempting surgery. All patients (n = 117) who presented with a computed tomography scan-proven diverticular abscess from July 2008 to June 2011 were studied. They were divided into four groups based on the number of percutaneous drainages they underwent for their diverticular abscess: six patients underwent three or more drainages, nine patients underwent two drainages, 27 patients had one drainage, and 75 patients had no drainage. Readjustment, flushing, and upgrading size of the drain were not considered as separate drainage procedures. The size of abscess cavity was significantly higher for the patients who had three or more drainages (mean 8 cm, P < 0.001). A Hartmann's procedure was performed in the majority of patients in the three or more drainage group (83%) but in decreasing frequency as the number of drainages performed dropped: two drainage group (44%), one drainage group (15%), and no drainage group (19%). There was a significantly higher preoperative hospital stay for drainage and antibiotics in the patients from the three or more drainage group (P < 0.001). Patients with a resilient diverticular abscess are very likely to undergo a Hartmann's procedure after two attempted drainages. By performing additional percutaneous drainages in an attempt to avoid ostomy, patients are at an increased risk of sepsis and peritonitis with prolonged antibiotics and increased healthcare costs. We recommend limiting percutaneous drainage procedures to two attempts to cool down a resilient diverticular abscess before definitive surgery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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