When the appendix (present at the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine) becomes swollen, it is called appendicitis. It can be acute or chronic and is a common cause of abdominal pain. It can happen at any age but it usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 30.
The appendix is an organ whose function is not yet known. It is believed that the appendix helps in recovering from diarrhoea and infections of the small or large intestine. However, the body can function normally without the appendix.
Symptoms of appendicitis
When the appendix inflames, bacteria start to multiply and this leads to the formation of pus inside the appendix. The build-up bacteria are accompanied by the following symptoms-
Appendicitis requires immediate medical intervention. If it bursts, it expels poisonous pus into the abdominal cavity and it can be life-threatening.
Surgery for appendicitis (Appendicectomy)-
In most cases, surgery is the only permanent cure for appendicitis. Appendicitis often causes an abscess. Your doctor will recommend a course of antibiotics and then drain the abscess through your skin. After the treatment for infection, the doctor will prepare you for surgery.
Appendicectomy can be a laparoscopic surgery or an open surgery. If you are already taking some over-the-counter medicines, or are pregnant or if you are allergic to some medicines, you must inform your doctor before the surgery. On the day of the surgery, the doctor will ask you to not drink any water for seven or eight hours prior to the operation.
• If the surgery is laparoscopic, the surgeon makes three minute incisions in the abdomen. Then a camera (which displays images of the inside of the abdomen) and surgical instruments are inserted through the three holes into the abdomen. With the help of these, the surgeon extracts the appendix. A laparoscopic surgery is more advantageous than an open surgery because laparoscopic surgery reduces the risk of infection, causes less pain after surgery.
• When an appendix bursts, you will need immediate surgery. And for this, a surgeon will opt for an open surgery. In case of an open surgery, an incision is made in the lower right side of the abdomen. Then the appendix is removed and the wound is closed with stitches. Since it is an open surgery, the surgeon gets the opportunity to clear up your abdominal cavity if the appendix had burst. An open surgery is the most preferred type of surgery when it comes to a ruptured appendix.
The benefit of the surgery lies in the fact that you will never again get appendicitis. Moreover, a surgery can prevent the complications that arise from appendicitis.
Recovery after an appendicectomy-
• If the surgery is laparoscopic, you will be discharged from the hospital within a day.
• If the surgery followed a burst appendix, you may be required to stay in the hospital for around a week. The doctor will recommend bed rest for at least three weeks and you will be able to get back to work in a month.
If you have appendicitis, you will continuously have to endure pain in your abdomen. The situation becomes grave when your inflamed appendix bursts. Doctors advise people with appendicitis to undergo surgery so that the eventuality of a burst appendix does not arise.