Gastroenterology clinic

The ins and outs of diverticular disease

Steven Schlichtemeier, Alexander Engel



Diverticular disease is a common condition that increases in prevalence with age. Management is multidisciplinary and can range from outpatient treatment to emergency surgery.

Article Extract

  • Diverticular disease is a common condition that affects one-third of people in Australia over the age of 45 years and two-thirds over the age of 85 years, with a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations and possible complications.
  • A colonic diverticulum is a false diverticulum in which the mucosa and submucosa herniate through the muscle layer of the bowel wall at natural openings where the vasa recta or nutrient vessels traverse the bowel wall.
  • ‘Diverticulosis’ refers to the presence of diverticula, whereas ‘diverticular disease’ is defined as clinically significant and symptomatic diverticulosis and can lead to several complications, including perforation, bleeding, obstruction, abscess and fistula.

Picture credit: © Todd Buck.