Appendicitis is rarely fatal these days, due to today’s use of antibiotics and safe surgery. The condition affects 1 in 15 people and found in men more than women. It hardly ever affects children under 3 years old. It occurs most commonly in people between 10 and 30 years of age.
- Laparoscopic Appendectomy Video
- Appendectomy for ruptured Appendicitis Video
- Open Appendectomy Video
Causes of Appendicitis
The Appendix is a closed-ended, narrow tube up to several inches in length that attaches to the Cecum (the first part of the colon) like a worm. The open central core of the Appendix drains into the Cecum. The inner lining of the Appendix produces a small amount of Mucus that flows through the open central core of the Appendix and into the Cecum. The wall of the Appendix contains Lymphatic Tissue that is part of the Immune System for making Antibodies. Like the rest of the Colon, the wall of the Appendix also contains a layer of muscle, but the layer of muscle is poorly developed. Appendicitis means inflammation of the appendix. It is thought that appendicitis begins when the opening from the appendix into the cecum becomes blocked. The blockage may be due to a build-up of thick mucus within the appendix or to stool that enters the appendix from the cecum. The mucus or stool hardens, becomes rock-like, and blocks the opening. This rock is called a fecalith. At other times, it might be that the lymphatic tissue in the appendix swells and blocks the opening. After the blockage occurs, bacteria which normally are found within the appendix begin to invade (infect) the wall of the appendix. The body responds to the invasion by mounting an attack on the bacteria, an attack called inflammation. An alternative theory for the cause of appendicitis is an initial rupture of the appendix followed by spread of bacteria outside of the appendix. The cause of such a rupture is unclear, but it may relate to changes that occur in the lymphatic tissue, for example, inflammation, that lines the wall of the appendix. Sometimes, the body is successful in containing (“healing”) the appendicitis without surgical treatment if the infection and accompanying inflammation do not spread throughout the abdomen. The inflammation, pain and symptoms may disappear. This is particularly true in elderly patients and when antibiotics are used.
- Constipation, diarrhea, or gas
- Pain beginning around the navel, turning to sharp pain in the lower right portion of the abdomen ( takes place over about 2 hours)
- Loss of appetite
- Low fever (37°C to 39°C)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tenderness when pressure is applied in the lower right abdomen; a good indicator of appendicitis is rebound tenderness (this means it hurts less when the fingers press over the tender area than it does when the pressure is suddenly released)
Symptoms of Advanced Appendicitis
- abdominal swelling and rigidity
- pain on the right side of the abdomen when pressed on the left side
Diagnose of Appendicitis
The doctor will perform a number of tests that may also provide information on the extent and location of inflammation. After a physical examination, a blood test may be done to check for infection. A doctor might also take a urine sample to rule out a urinary tract infection, because symptoms can be similar to those of appendicitis. Sometimes an ultrasound will be performed to help with the diagnosis. An Abdominal CT Scan is occasionally needed for people when other tests do not give clear results. Other diseases that can be confused with Appendicitis include colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Gastritis, Gastroenteritis, Tubal Pregnancy, and Ovary Problems.
Treatment of Appendicitis
The appendix is often removed (appendectomy) within hours of diagnosis. Appendectomy is a fairly simple operation even if the appendix is already ruptured. Antibiotics will be given before surgery and may be continued after the operation in case bacteria enter the abdomen during the procedure. Some surgeons are now doing a less invasive form of appendectomy called laparoscopic appendectomy where the appendix is removed through a small tube, leaving a very tiny scar. In most cases, the incision will heal within a few days to a week.
- Swedish Scientists Say Antibiotics Could Replace Surgery for Appendicitis (sci-news.com)
- Abdominal Pain (healthinessbox.com)