Appendectomy

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What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix becomes inflamed. The appendix is a finger or worm-shaped pouch that projects out from the cecum (the beginning of the colon). In most individuals, the appendix becomes inflamed because its tissues become infected with bacteria; pus may develop within the lumen of the appendix. Mechanical blockage of the appendix by hard stool, a foreign body, or thick mucus may lead to bacterial infections.

The signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include aching pain that begins around the umbilicus (belly button) and then shifts to the lower right abdomen. The pain may be sharp and can increase by movements such as walking or coughing. Many individuals may develop nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, constipation, inability to pass gas, and abdominal swelling. Individuals may also develop diarrhea.

A common sign of appendicitis is deep tenderness at the McBurney's point (the location of McBurney's point is about 2/3 the distance starting from the umbilicus to the right anterior superior iliac spine), However, young children and pregnant females may experience pain elsewhere in the abdomen.

What is appendectomy?

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Appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. This procedure is most often performed as an emergency operation. In some patients undergoing abdominal surgery for another reason, may have their appendix removed prophylactically so that appendicitis does not develop in the future; this option can be discussed with your surgeon.

Appendicitis Picture - Inflammation of the Appendix
Appendicitis Picture - Inflammation of the Appendix

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2014

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Appendix Treatment

How is appendicitis treated?

Once a diagnosis of appendicitis is made, an appendectomy usually is performed. Antibiotics almost always are begun prior to surgery and as soon as appendicitis is suspected.


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