Giant colonic diverticulum

A giant colonic diverticulum is a rare form of presentation of colonic diverticulosis and is characterised by a large diverticular mass, usually filled with stool and gas, that communicates with colonic lumen.  

The most common presentation is abdominal pain. Other presenting symptoms include constipation, abdominal masses, vomiting, diarrhoea and rectal bleeding 5.

The majority (>90%) arises from the sigmoid colon 1,3, but it can occur in any part of the colon.

They are thought to arise either from:

  1. pseudo-diverticula of the sigmoid colon in which the mucosa herniates through the muscular wall and becomes progressively enlarged by colonic gas via a ball-valve type mechanism 4.
  2. gas forming organisms present in already formed pseudo-diverticulae produce gas, which progressively distends the diverticulum 4.
CT

CT is the best imaging modality for diagnosis and colonoscopies rarely carried out due to the risk of perforation 2. CT shows the diverticulum as a gas, fluid or faeces filled cavity sometimes with calcification in the case of chronic inflammation. There is usually no contrast enhancement unless there is active inflammation 2.

Plain radiograph

Abdominal X-rays may show large gas-filled cysts with an air-fluid level 5.

The definitive treatment for a giant diverticulum is surgery 2.

 

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Article Information

rID: 29835
Section: Gamuts
Tags: cases, stub
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Giant colonic diverticula

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: right colon
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    Case 2: sigmoid
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