About Appendix

An appendix is a small pouch-like organ attached to first part of large intestine (caecum) and is located in the right lower abdomen. It is a vestigial (redundant) organ.

Cause

The blockage of the canal of appendix resulting in trapping of its secretions and bacteria causes appendicitis.

Symptoms

  • Pain in right lower abdomen
  • Nausea and GI upset
  • Vomiting
  • Low grade to high grade fever

Does it always hurt at the same place?

Not essentially. Appendicular pain typically starts in upper abdomen, shifts to near the navel and finally localises near the right lower abdomen. Pressing on this area, coughing, walking or sudden jerks typically makes this pain worse.

Diagnosis & Treatments

How is appendicitis diagnosed?

In an acute setting, appendicitis can be diagnosed based on patient's history and thorough clinical examination. An ultrasound of the abdomen would aid in establishing the pathology and also and negating a probable differential diagnosis. Few laboratory investigations aid in substantiating the diagnosis. In a recurrent or chronic setting, tests like Barium meal follow through or a CT scan may be resorted to. Sometimes a diagnostic laparoscopy may be needed to finally confirm the diagnosis.

Do all appendicitis patients require surgery?

One may get away without a surgery in uncomplicated cases. It entails certain dietary changes and antibiotics. In complicated cases however, surgery becomes essential lest the appendix can burst and lead to disastrous complications.

What is the surgical treatment of appendicitis?

Appendectomy or surgical removal of the appendix is the standard treatment for appendicitis. Almost invariably, this surgery is carried out by laparoscopy, even in the most complicated stages.

Laparoscopic Appendectomy & Advantages

The biggest advantage remains that a thorough survey of the visible parts of the abdominal cavity can be made to rule out other concomitant or mimicking pathologies and treat them simultaneously.

Other advantages include:

  • Minimal post-surgical pain.
  • Reduced risk of post-surgical infection.
  • Shorter hospital stay.
  • Early return to work.
  • Better cosmetic outcome

Will I be in pain after surgery?

Not really. Principally, it is not a very painful surgery; moreover, painkillers do their job really well.

How early can I go home after surgery?

As early as 24 to 36 hours.

When can I have bath after surgery?

Almost invariably, all your dressings are waterproof permitting you to bathe the very next day.

Will there be tubes put into me?

More often than not, stomach tube or urinary catheter are not put, unless it's a very tough scenario. Very occasionally, tube drains are put inside the abdomen in difficult cases as a safety measure.

Would there be sutures that require a painful removal?

Firstly, suture or staple removal is a totally pain-free procedure. More often, a surgical glue will be used to approximate skin wherein removal isn't essential.

How many times do I have to come for follow up after I get discharged?

Usually only once, around the 8th day for a wound check.

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