Appendicitis

Appendix is a tube like organ of variable size of 5 to 20 cms which lies in the right lower abdomen.

It is hollow throughout , open at one end and closed at the other . The open end empties in the part of large intestine called as cecum.

What is appendicitis?
Sometimes the lumen of the appendix can get blocked due to solid fecal material( fecoliths), worms, food material/ seeds or a kink in the appendix, the secretions of the inner lining of appendix are not able to discharge into the intestines and get infected, this causes swelling up of the appendix.

Who can get appendicitis?
Individual of any age can develop appendicitis, right from few months upto old age group the oldest patient I have operated for appendicitis is 95 yr old.

How to diagnose an appendicitis?
Appendicitis , most of the time is a clinical diagnosis and most of the time cannot be seen on any imaging modalitis.

History is most important in these cases, Patient usually comes with pain in rt lower or middle abdomen, malaise, Nausea, may be accompanied by fever.

On examination there is tenderness in the rt lower abdomen.

Ultrasound is done to exclude any other pathology and sometimes appendicitis may be diagnosed Blood investigation shows increased total count.

What are the complications of untreated appendicitis?
A severe appendicitis can be a life threatening disease with complications like perforation, peritonitis appendicular abscess , and infection can spread in the blood leading to septicemia.

How do we treat appendicitis?
Mild attack of appendicitis maybe treated with antibiotics, but chances of recurrent attack are very high.

Definitive treatment of appendicitis is surgical removal, in an uncomplicated disease it can be removed through key holes( Laparoscopically) and patient can be discharged within 12 to 24 hrs after surgery.