Appendix Surgery

The appendix is an “appendage” at the beginning of the large intestine.   It is near the junction of the small intestine and the large intestine, usually on the right lower part of the abdomen.   It does not have a function in adults.  In childhood, it contains lymphatics tissue, and used to be called “the abdominal tonsil”, and it would get inflamed during other infections such as gastroenteritis and mesentreric lymphadenitis.  The common cause of inflammation is Blockage (which is the cause of most surgical problems), usually by hardened stools (fecalith or poop stone!) or early pin worms!

Since the appendix is a blind appendage (hence the name in German, blind intestine) , it cannot drain its contents, the pressure increases, infection sets in and if left untreated (surgery), it bursts, the contents leak out and cause severe infection (E Coli) and peritonitis.  In the old days, many people died of peritonitis but now, due to availability of surgery and antibiotics, the condition is curable. If untreated it can carry high morbidity and morality.  Uncomplicated appendicitis is usually treated by surgery and the patient goes home the next day.

Perforated or rupture appendix usually requires drains and longer hospital stay on IV antibiotics. It is advisable not to try to treat yourself or make decisions for your family because that can lead to complications from the delay in diagnosis and surgery.   This is also a reason why there are more complex presentations in children since the decision is made by the parents in regards to the severity of the symptoms. After uncomplicated appendectomy is performed,  it is followed by overnight stay and 2 to 4 weeks off work, depending on the nature of work.