Background: While detailed history, physical examination, and laboratory tests are of great importance when examining a patient with diverticular disease, they are not sufficient to diagnose (or stratify) diverticulitis without cross-sectional imaging (ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT)). Methods: Qualified US has diagnostic value equipotent to qualified CT, follows relevant legislation for radiation exposure protection, and is frequently effectual for diagnosis. Furthermore, its unsurpassed resolution allows detailed investigation down to the histological level. Subsequently, US is considered the first choice of imaging in diverticular disease. Vice versa, CT has definite indications in unclear/discrepant situations or insufficient US performance. Results: Endoscopy is not required for the diagnosis of diverticulitis and shall not be performed in the acute attack. Colonoscopy, however, is warranted after healing of acute diverticulitis, prior to elective surgery, and in atypical cases suggesting other diagnoses. Perforation/abscess must be excluded before colonoscopy. Conclusion: Reliable diagnosis is fundamental for surgical, interventional, and conservative treatment of the different presentations of diverticular disease. Not only complications of acute diverticulitis but also a number of differential diagnoses must be considered. For an adequate surgical strategy, correct stratification of complications is mandatory. Subsequently, in the light of currently validated diagnostic techniques, the consensus conference of the German Societies of Gastroenterology (DGVS) and of Visceral Surgery (DGAV) has passed a new classification of diverticulitis displaying the different facets of diverticular disease. This classification addresses different types (not stages) of the condition, and includes symptomatic diverticular disease (SUDD), largely resembling irritable bowel syndrome, as well as diverticular bleeding.
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