Appendicitis

Appendicitis is one of the most common factors responsible for abdominal pain, which can lead to surgery. More than 5 percent of people in the US experience appendicitis at some point. However, the pain most often occurs in people aged between 10 and 30.

Appendicitis is the inflammation of a 3.5-inch long appendix tube that protrudes from the large intestine. The condition calls for an immediate treatment, most probably surgery to remove the appendix.

Leaving an inflamed appendix untreated will cause the tube to burst. Thus, the inflamed appendix may start spilling infectious bacteria into the abdominal cavity. And, it may prove fatal sometimes.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Usually, the first sign of appendicitis is a sudden pain that begins in the upper abdomen and radiates to the lower right portion of the abdomen. The pain may become excruciating when you cough or walk.

The inflamed appendix may cause you to lose appetite, or you may feel nausea or vomiting as soon as the pain begins. Abdominal bloating and low-grade fever, usually 99 – 102 Fahrenheit, may also serve as signs of the inflammation of appendix.

The other symptoms of appendicitis include severe cramps, dull or sharp pain in the back, rectum, or the lower or upper abdomen.

What Causes Appendicitis?

While the root cause of appendicitis remains unknown in most of the cases, doctors believe that inflammation occurs when the appendix is blocked. The obstruction in the lining may occur due to hardened stool, intestinal worms, enlarged lymphoid follicles or cancer.

The blockage in the appendix results in an infection, which may multiply the bacteria. Thus, it leads to the swelling and formation of pus in the appendix, thereby causing inflammation. You may also feel severe pain in the abdominal region, and if not treated timely, the appendix may rupture.

Appendicitis’ Diagnosis

The symptoms of appendicitis are often confused with that of the gallbladder diseases, bladder or urine infection, intestinal infection, gastritis, and ovary problems. This makes the diagnosis of appendicitis tricky. Your doctor may conduct these tests for diagnosing the inflammation in the appendix.

  • Examination of the abdominal region: This helps identify the stiffening of the abdominal muscles when the doctor applies pressure on the appendix.
  • Rectal Exam: The doctor examines the lower rectum with a lubricated gloved finger.
  • Blood Test: The blood tests show a high white blood cell count in the body, thereby indicating an infection.
  • Urinalysis: The urine test helps rule out a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone as a possible cause of the pain.
  • Imaging Tests: The doctor may require an abdominal X-ray, ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI of the patient for the diagnosis of appendicitis.

Treatment: Appendectomy

The standard treatment for all appendicitis is appendectomy, i.e., the removal of appendicitis. The doctor may either perform open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery depending on the severity of the problem.

During the open surgery, the doctor makes an incision, which is usually 2 to 4 inches long. Doctors perform this type of surgery when the appendix has ruptured, and an excess abscess or puss has formed around it. Thus, the doctor drains the fluid and cleans the abdominal cavity.

Once the infection is under control, the doctor may perform minimally invasive or laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon will use some incisions to insert surgical instruments and a video camera into the abdominal region to remove the appendix.

Final Word

Do not neglect the pain that you experience in your abdomen. It may be a sign of an inflamed appendix. If you do not go for a treatment promptly, it may cause your appendix to rupture. Contact Lenox Hill Surgeons in NYC today and book an appointment with the experts of minimally invasive surgery.

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