SSAT’s Postgraduate/Continuing Medical Education Committee Panel is sponsoring a special session on Saturday, May 6, titled Management of Complicated Diverticulitis — Defining the Roles of Medical, Radiological and Surgical Therapy. During the 90-minute discussion, five experts will explore the role of various treatment modalities — medical, interventional, radiological and surgical — at various stages of disease presentation and severity.

Melanie Morris, MD

Melanie Morris, MD

Technological advances have changed the way diverticulitis is managed, said session co-chair Melanie Morris, MD, associate professor specializing in colon and rectal surgery at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Uncomplicated diverticulitis cases — patients with no abscess, no fistula, no stricture and no free perforation — often do not require surgery, she added.

“The trend has moved toward non-operative management of diverticulitis,” explained Dr. Morris, who is also chief of general surgery at the Birmingham VA Hospital. “As technology has improved, we have added tools to our armamentarium and it’s important for clinicians to stay up to date. This panel will give them an opportunity to do that.”

The discussion will begin with a presentation by Virginia O. Shaffer, MD, assistant professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, who will discuss the incidence, diagnosis, stages and medical management of diverticulitis. Karin Hardiman, MD, PhD, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, will analyze which patients should be considered for elective surgery.

“These presenters will give attendees really practical tips for determining which patients need surgery and which patients can be managed without surgery,” Dr. Morris said. “We want to think about quality of life for the patient and access to medical care when making determinations about surgery. It’s not always simple. Some patients with complicated diverticulitis, particularly those who have recovered from an abscess that has been drained percutaneously, may not need an operation.”

Andreas M. Kaiser, MD, professor of clinical surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, will discuss interventions for complicated diverticulitis. And Daniel I. Chu, MD, assistant professor of surgery at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, will present a lecture titled “Operative Pearls: MIS, Anastomosis, to Divert or Not, Bladder/Vagina Involvement, Saving the Ureter.”

The session’s final speaker, Daniel O. Herzig, MD, associate professor of surgery at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, will present “Alternative Therapies: IR Drains, Stenting, Laparoscopic Lavage.” He will explore treatment options like colonic stenting for diverticular strictures and percutaneous drainage of intra-abdominal abscesses.

The session will conclude with a question-and-answer period.

“Our panel includes experts from across the country who bring a high level of expertise, and they’re all great speakers,” Dr. Morris said. “This session should be entertaining as well as informative.”