When there is an inflammation / infection of the appendix, it is recommended that the entire appendix be removed by surgery. This surgical condition is termed as Appendicitis and the surgical removal of appendix is termed as Appendectomy. Appendectomy is done mainly by keyhole approach these days and is referred as Laparoscopic Appendectomy.
Why Would Appendix Develop Inflammation?
The reason for the inflammation of Appendix is generally unknown. But by and large it is believed that any obstruction to the lumen of the Appendix, whether it may be partial or complete, may be reason behind it. The obstruction is generally caused by the fecal matter and the fecal matter accumulates inside the appendix to cause inflammation. This inflammation exerts pressure on the wall of the appendix or tissues of the appendix and this may cause extreme pain.
Initial Symptoms of Appendicitis
- Dull aching pain starts near the naval area
- Mild Fever
Later Symptoms of Appendicitis
- Pain more localized in lower right abdomen
- Pain becomes more intense and catchy
- High Fever
- White cell count increases because the body is fighting infection
Diagnosis of Appendicitis
- History and examination of the abdomen by an experienced surgeon / medical professional.
- Ultrasound or CT Scan
This early stage of appendix can be treated with simple antibiotics. However the risk remains and whether the surgery is required or not is something that a qualified gastro surgeon only should tell after assessing the patient. Even if initially treated medically with antibiotics, after many years it may warrant a surgical removal.
What if Appendicitis is left untreated?
If appendicitis is left untreated, the inflammation may worsen and it may lead to a condition called “Peritonitis”. In this condition, the appendix wall ruptures due to the increased inflammation and the fecal and other infected matters leaks into the abdomen and aggravates the infection leading to Abdomen Sepsis. If this is also untreated, the infection can enter the blood stream and can cause Septecemia.
If Appendix bursts the symptoms will be
- Abdomen becomes tight like a stone (board like rigidity)
- Severe Fever
- Severe vomiting and pain
- Patient becomes toxic due to Septecemia
If Appendicitis goes to this condition, it is treated as a surgical emergency and is immediately operated upon where the appendix is surgically removed. Easy laparoscopic approach makes the recovery and normalcy from surgery very simple and easy.
Can Appendicitis Be Prevented?
No. Since anyone can get appendicitis and since there is no strong proof that links this surgical condition to any factors, it cannot be prevented. Generally those who are constipated and young have a higher chance of getting appendicitis.
Dr M Maran,