How soon to have surgery?

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I went to see a specialist yesterday to follow up after being hospitalized with complicated diverticulities with a 45 mm abscess that could not be drained.  He said that I needed surgery and there was no other option.  Although I have only been out of hospital a week and a half, he scheduled my surgery for next week.  After thinking it over, I went to get a second opinion today.  The surgeon that I saw today did agree that I will need to have surgery although she did not feel it was safe or in any way optimal to have surgery so soon after an attack.  In addition, she felt that the next step would be to have a repeat ct scan to see how I'm healing in about 3 weeks or so and follow up with a colonoscopy.  I am very confused as to how two highly reputable surgeons differ on their recommendations.  I am going to a third opinion next week and needless to say I canceled my surgery for the time being.  Does anyone have any experience with when to have elective surgery for colon resection?


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  • Posted

    Are you in the UK or USA?  I think the treatment in the two countries differs considerably.  In the UK surgery seems to be the last option, after everything else has failed, or it's an emergency like a blockage, fistula or non responding abscess.  In the USA the response seems to be very much quicker to reach for the knife, sometimes after just one flare - hence elective surgery.  I am UK based and was first told I would need surgery, then the 2nd Consultant said no.  (I had been managing my DD successfully for 15 years, but it had worsened). My cousin, a medical person advised me against elective surgery.  But I don't have an abscess, just multiple diverticula and I am managing with diet and lifestyle, no surgery.

    I wonder if the 1st surgeon thought you were in danger of perforation/peritonitis, hence the need for speed.  The 2nd clearly wanted to see how the medication helped first.  Although not directly related, I have had a couple of tooth abscesses.  One was cleared with medication, the other was not, and I had the tooth removed.

    So I think you might need more information.  There are quite a few posts on this site about the experiences of people who have had elective surgery which might explain the pros and cons.  If you are UK based I guess you will need the surgery sooner or later, but if medication can reduce the infection and risk during surgery, so much the better.  If you are USA based, you need to trust the surgeon and the advice you are given, and have more information about their reasoning behind their recommendations and the pros and cons of operating now or later.

    Not an easy decision and I wish you the very best.

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    • Posted

      I'm in the US.  Basically they feel here that if you had an abscess larger than 3 cm, your risk of having this happen again is much higher and emergency surgery would be a risk so they would rather do elective.  And although both surgeons agree that surgery is needed, they differ on when to do it.  I have decided to wait a little for my body to heal and go for a repeat CT scan and colonoscopy.  Thank you all for your advice and experiences.

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  • Posted

    i had ny elective surgery about 4 months ago.. i had to wait for 3 yrs to ha e my op.. i strted to get flare ups every week so i had to hve antibiotics to clear infection and booked my op .. i had ct scan, colonscopy and in the end i had my op cos i was getting very ill .. i was getting acute attacks every week so thy had to do my op in the end.. since thn i hv been oryt.. goin for my reversal in summer ths year..
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