Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012
Issue release date: May 2012
Dig Dis 2012;30:56–59

Ultrasound of Colon Diverticulitis

Puylaert J.B.C.M.
Department of Radiology, MCH Westeinde, The Hague, The Netherlands

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in


Overall, the diagnosis of diverticulitis is more reliably made by computed tomography (CT) than by ultrasound (US). However, since US is often used as a first modality in acute abdomen, it is important to be aware of the US signs of diverticulitis. Besides, in not too obese patients, US may be superior to CT. US is most useful in early, uncomplicated diverticulitis. Daily, repeated US examinations in patients with diverticulitis have taught that diverticulitis, in the majority of cases, runs a predictable and benign course. Initially, there is local wall thickening of the colon with preservation of the US layer structure. Within the inflamed diverticulum, a fecolith is present, and the diverticulum is surrounded by hyperechoic, noncompressible tissue, which represents the inflamed mesentery and omentum ‘sealing off’ the imminent perforation. US follow-up shows evacuation of the fecolith to the colonic lumen, with or without the transient development of a small paracolic abscess, sometimes with disintegration of the fecolith. This process of spontaneous evacuation of pus and fecolith via local weakening of the colonic wall at the level of the original diverticular neck towards the colonic lumen takes place within 1 or 2 days, rarely longer. The residual inflammatory changes remain present for several days after the evacuation, and it is not uncommon to find an empty diverticulum at first presentation. If, in such cases, patients are specifically asked for their symptoms, they invariably declare that ‘the worst pain is over’. Whenever diverticulitis takes a complicated course, CT is superior to US, especially in the detection of free air, fecal peritonitis and deeply located abscesses, and in general in obese patients. Finally, US, if necessary followed by CT, has an important role in the diagnosis of alternative conditions: ureterolithiasis, pyelonephritis, perforated peptic ulcer, appendicitis, Crohn’s disease, epiploic appendagitis, gynecological conditions, colonic malignancy, pancreatitis, etc. Right-sided colonic diverticulitis in many respects differs from its left-sided cousin. Diverticula of the right colon are usually congenital, solitary, true diverticula containing all bowel wall layers. The fecoliths within these diverticula are larger and the diverticular neck is wider. There is no hypertrophy of the muscularis of the right colonic wall. My observations with US and CT in 110 patients with right colonic diverticulitis clearly show that it invariably has a favorable course and never leads to free perforation or large abscesses. Although relatively rare (left:right = 15:1), it is crucial to make a correct diagnosis since the clinical symptoms of acute right lower quadrant pain may lead to an unnecessary appendectomy or even right hemicolectomy.

Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.


  1. Van Breda Vriesman AC, Lohle PNM, Coerkamp EG, Puylaert JBCM: Infarction of omentum and epiploic appendage: diagnosis, epidemiology and natural history. Eur Radiol 1999;9:1886–1892.
  2. Oudenhoven LFIJ, Puylaert JBCM, Koumans RKJ: Right colonic diverticulitis: US and CT findings – new insights about frequency and natural history. Radiology 1998;208:611–618.

Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 33.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 23.00