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.
Appendicitis occurs when there is an obstruction in the lining of the appendix, resulting in an infection. Left to itself, it may lead to swelling, inflammation, formation of pus, and rupture of the appendix. The most common symptoms of appendicitis are pain in the abdomen, abdominal swelling, nausea, loss of appetite, high fever.
What is the Appendix?
Appendix is a small, 3.5 inches long pouch-like tube of tissues present in the colon, which is located on the right side of your lower abdomen. Quite a few research studies suggest that the appendix functions as a depository for the good bacteria and helps reboot your digestive system after it is rendered dysfunctional by diseases like diarrhea. However, doctors suggest that the human body can function perfectly without an appendix and hence, one can have their appendix removed in order to prevent bacterial infection or inflammation from spreading to the abdominal cavity.
Appendicitis surgery, also known as appendectomy, is the procedure of removing the appendix before it gets ruptured.
There are two methods of performing an appendectomy- open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy.
Appendectomy is usually a safe and permanent solution to have your appendicitis removed. It does not have many serious complications or side effects. Like all surgeries, there are some post-treatment guidelines to quicken the recovery process. You should clear your doubts with your doctor after the surgery.
What is an Appendectomy?
An appendectomy (which is sometimes referred to ‘appendicectomy’) is the surgical elimination of the organ known as the appendix. Appendectomy is mostly performed as an emergency surgical procedure, when patients suffer from appendicitis.
How is Appendectomy Performed?
Appendectomy can be performed both as an open operation as well as laparoscopically. An appendectomy is most often performed laparoscopically, if the diagnosis is in doubt, or if the patients feel that they need to hide their telltale surgical scars near their umbilicus or in the pubic hairline.
However, although laparoscopic appendectomy has its cosmetic advantages, and its recovery time is a little quicker, this procedure is more expensive than conventional open surgery.
Conventional Open Appendectomy-
In the conventional open surgery, the surgeon makes an incision which is less than 3 inches in length in the lower right section of the abdomen. Once the infected appendix is identified, the surgeon separates the infected appendix from its surrounding tissues and removes it surgically from the cecum (an intraperitoneal pouch that forms the junction of the small and large intestine). After that, the cecum is closed and is returned back into the abdomen. In the end, the muscle layers and the skin are sewn together and the incision is closed.
Laparoscopic Appendectomy (LA)-
While performing appendectomy laparoscopically, which is also known as LA, four incisions of 1 inch in length are made in the abdomen. One incision is made near the umbilicus, while another one is made in an appropriate region between the umbilicus and the pubis. The other two incisions, which are even smaller in size, are made in the right side of the lower abdomen. The surgeon then passes the camera and special laparoscopy instruments through these openings and after identifying, frees the appendix from its surrounding tissues. Next, the appendix is removed from the cecum and the site of its former attachment is sewed. The infected appendix is removed from the body of the patient through any one of the two 1 inch incisions. In the end, the laparoscopic instruments are removed and the incisions are sutured and closed. During this whole procedure, the intraperitoneal space is filled with medical grade carbon dioxide gas, to inflate the abdomen, which is released after the surgery.
Recovery Time For Appendectomy-
The recovery time for appendectomy depends on and varies with the type of procedure and anesthesia used during the surgery. While laparoscopic appendectomy can be done on an outpatient basis so that the patients can recover back at home, an open surgical procedure will require an overnight or even longer hospital stay.
Normally patients after appendectomy can resume their normal daily activities within a few days. However, for a full recovery, it may take four to six weeks. Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities during this period of time.
Risk and Long Term Consequences of Removing the Appendix-
While wound infections are the most common complications of this surgery, the formation of an abscess in the area of the surgical incision and also in the area close to the removed appendix has also been noticed as an aftermath of appendectomy.
Major long-term consequences of appendectomy include increased risks of bowel obstruction, stump appendicitis (infection in the retained portion of the appendix still stuck with the cecum) and development of an incisional hernia at the site of the scar.
Appendix is a vestigial organ situated at the junction of the small intestine and large intestine in the digestive system. A vestigial organ is the one that is there due to evolutionary changes but has no role to play.
Inflammation of the appendix causes Appendicitis which is a very painful condition and can be called a ‘medical emergency’ which prompts that surgical removal of appendix is the only option. If left untreated, the appendix might burst and spill harmful material and infectious fluids into the abdominal cavity. This can have serious repercussions unless treated with very strong antibiotics. In order to avoid major complications, the doctor would prescribe an immediate surgery to treat Appendicitis. It should not be delayed. Generally, people aged between ten to thirty years report this condition.
Causes of Appendicitis:
Appendicitis is caused by a blockage of appendix by a foreign body (stone, bullet, pin, etc.), stool, pus, tumor, or cancer. It can also be caused by any infection in the body which can make the organ swell. Appendicitis may also result due to abdominal trauma or injury.
Types of Appendicitis:
There are generally two types of Appendicitis: Acute and Subacute Appendicitis:
Acute Appendicitis: This type of Appendicitis is marked by severe, intolerable abdominal pain which worsens very quickly, usually in a matter of few hours.
Subacute Appendicitis: This type of Appendicitis is characterized by recurrent but mild abdominal pain which starts and subsides on its own initially, so much so that the patient and the doctor do not realize the actual problem until it changes into Acute Appendicitis.
Symptoms of Appendicitis:
Some of the most common symptoms of Appendicitis are:
Sudden pain near the upper abdomen or navel may intensify. Pain may get worse on movement like while walking or coughing.
Continuous light fever.
Abdominal swelling and cramps.
Since the symptoms are very vague and are like those of other ailments of the bladder, intestinal infections, and gastroenteritis, it is often tricky to accurately diagnose Appendicitis at once. Following are the tests for diagnosing Appendicitis:
Abdominal examination to check inflammation.
Blood test to check if there is any infection.
An ultrasound to examine swelling in the appendix.
A CT scans.
Appendicitis is treated by surgically removing the appendix. This surgery is called Appendectomy. It can be performed as an open surgery in which a larger incision is required; or, by laparoscopy which involves very minor incision and hence heals very quickly without causing much pain or scars. But, in the case of ruptured appendix, an open Appendectomy must be performed so that the abdominal cavity can be cleaned up too.
Post- Operative Care:
An open Appendectomy may take a month or longer to heal fully, but a laparoscopic procedure usually takes not more than three weeks at the maximum to heal completely. Following are some of the post-operative care:
Avoid strenuous physical activity to prevent stitches from getting undone. Also, do not stretch the body too much.
If the pain-killers do not help much, consult the doctor immediately.
Do not overwork. Have a sound sleep but stay active by attempting short walks.
Appendicitis can escalate and progress very quickly causing life-threatening complications. It is therefore advisable to quickly go for Appendectomy as soon as it is established that this is the actual problem.
Even Roald Dahl faked having appendicitis in his famous book, but, what exactly is appendicitis? Wouldn’t it be a little interesting to find out what are its causes and treatment?
Appendicitis is a condition where the appendix swells up. Appendix is a small tubular organ attached to our caecum and is about three and a half inches in length. The appendix does not have any known function and is considered a vestigeal organ. Hence, its removal does not cause any digestive problems.
While the appendix does not serve any properly defined function, appendicitis is not to be ignored. In fact, if there is a rupture of the appendix, it can cause severe infection and sepsis and can land a person in the ICU.
So, what is the cause of appendicitis?
Simply said, when the appendix gets blocked, the result is appendicitis.
What blocks it?
Well, it could be fecal matter, worms or sometimes cancer! Its blockage results in swelling and infection. In a small minority of cases, very strong antibiotics are used to treat it. However, surgery to remove the appendix is needed in most cases.
As a matter of fact, it is treated as an emergency and the doctors go ahead and start the treatment as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of rupture of the appendix. Nowadays, with laparoscopic surgery, the recovery is very quick and the person returns to work in just 3-4 days.
Laparoscopy is done using small keyhole cuts on the body and so pain is very less and patients are encouraged to get back to routine activities quickly. Thus, appendicitis has become an easily treatable problem. But it is important to consult a doctor early and thus have a quick recovery.
Even Roald Dahl faked having appendicitis in his famous book, but, what exactly is appendicitis? Wouldn’t it be a little interesting, to say the least, to find out what causes it and what treatment a person can expect to undergo in the case of getting it?
Quite simply, appendicitis is the name of the condition when the appendix swells up. Under normal circumstances, it is about three and a half inches in length. The ironic part about this is the fact that though appendicitis may cause tremendous pain and warrants surgery, no doctor is really aware of the reason why the appendix exists, in the first place! As a matter of fact, it is fully possible to live without an appendix and many people have not experienced any health problems after having their appendix removed.
While the appendix does not serve any properly defined function, this really does not mean that appendicitis is something that is not all that serious. In fact, if there is an explosion of the appendix, a person can die without very strong levels of medication in a time bound manner!
So, what is the cause behind this scary prospect? Simply said, when the appendix gets blocked, the result is appendicitis. What blocks it? Well, it could be cancer, a foreign body or even stool! That being said, it is to be kept in mind that this is not the only reason as to why appendicitis exists. If there is an infection in the body, in response to it, the appendix may end up getting inflamed.
With the exception of a very small minority of cases in which very strong antibiotics are made use of in order to treat appendicitis, a surgery to remove the appendix is usually a given case scenario when a person has appendicitis. As a matter of fact, it is treated as an emergency and the doctors go ahead and start the treatment as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of the rupture of the appendix.
It usually takes about two or three weeks before a person can get back to normal activities though some gentle movement can be undertaken within about twelve hours since the end of the operation. There are two types of surgery. If a laparoscopic surgery is being performed, the recovery is relatively straightforward but if an open surgery is performed, the recovery can take more time and would require a greater amount of care.