A team of doctors at Lilavati Hospital operated on megastar Amitabh Bachchan on Wednesday evening to treat a medical condition known as 'diverticulitis' of a part of the small intestine (bowel). In this, the weakness of the wall of the small bowel results in the formation of numerous small pouches, which can get inflamed or infected.
The operation began at 6 pm, proceeded smoothly to the satisfaction of the doctors, and ended just after 10 pm.
Hospital sources had been insisting all along that Amitabh was suffering from simple colitis. DNA, however, mentioned clearly that Big B could be suffering from diverticulitis and might need surgery.
Well-known gastro-intestinal surgeon Dr JB Agarwal headed the surgical team, which performed a four-hour operation to remove several small pouches and strengthen the wall of the small intestine. Dr P Jagannathan, a renowned gastro-intestinal cancer specialist, was also part of the surgical team. His presence had raised concerns that Amitabh might be suffering from cancer, but according to a highly-placed source, this was conclusively ruled out after the operation.
According to medical experts, diverticulitis is more commonly seen in the colon or large bowel. It can usually be treated with dietary changes and, if there is an infection, with antibiotics. About 25 per cent of people with diverticulitis have complications that require surgery. Amitabh turned out to be one of them.
However, in Amitabh's case, the medical situation is more delicate than usual because there would be internal scars, known as 'adhesions', owing to his earlier surgery. In 1982, Amitabh had sustained a near fatal injury to his abdomen during the shooting of 'Coolie'. He had to undergo extensive surgical repair of his abdominal organs and that could add to his medical problems this time around.
Besides, the neuromuscular dysfunction that had followed his 1982 illness could make it difficult for him to withstand the rigours of general anaesthesia, without which major abdominal surgery is impossible.
Considering this surgery and his medical history, it is likely that it will take the mega star a few weeks to return to work.
The surgical team
Dr J B Agarwal, a renowned gastrointestinal surgeon with nearly three decades of experience. He is attached to Lilavati Hospital and also owns the Agarwal Nursing Home in Malad (east). It is one of the very few in India to have an ISO 9000 certificate.
Dr P Jagannathan, a famous gastro intestinal cancer surgeon, who served Tata Memorial Hospital for 15 years, and is now with Lilavati Hospital, the Asian Institute of Oncology and S L Raheja Hospital, Mahim.