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The appendicitis It is inflammation of the vermicular appendix, a small organ found at the beginning of the ascending colon. The inflammation of the same occurs when it becomes obstructed and the retained fecal content damages and infects the walls of the appendix.
It is characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain (usually located on the right side of the abdomen, a little below the navel), and moderate fever.
Symptoms of appendicitis vary and it can be difficult to diagnose in young children, the elderly, and women of childbearing age.
Classically, the first symptom is pain around the navel (see abdominal pain). This pain may initially be vague, but each time it becomes sharp and severe. Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and a low fever are possible.
As inflammation increases in the appendix, the pain tends to radiate to the lower right side of the abdomen and is concentrated directly over the appendix at a place called the McBurney point.
If the appendix ruptures, the pain may decrease briefly and the person may feel better; however, once peritonitis begins, the pain worsens and the person becomes sicker.
Abdominal pain may be worse when walking or coughing, and the person may prefer to stay still because sudden movements cause pain.
- Loss of appetite
- Chills and shivers
Appendicitis is one of the most common causes of emergency abdominal surgery and usually occurs after an obstruction of the appendix by stool, a foreign body, or, rarely, a tumor.
Unfortunately, the diagnosis is essentially clinical and is sometimes very difficult, requiring surgical intervention. The appendectomy is a simple surgery that consists of remove the appendix, as long as it has not been complicated by peritonitis, an inflammation of the peritoneum that appears as a consequence of the perforation of the appendix.
In uncomplicated cases, a surgical procedure, called an appendectomy, is done to remove the appendix shortly after diagnosis. This surgery can be done as an "open" procedure, with large surgical incisions in the abdomen, or it can also be done as a laparoscopic procedure, using a camera and small incisions.
If the operation reveals that the appendix is normal, the surgeon will remove it and explore the rest of the abdomen to look for other causes of the pain.
If a CT scan reveals an abscess from the ruptured appendix, the patient can be treated and the appendix can be removed later, after the infection and inflammation are gone.
If the appendix is treated before it ruptures, the person will likely recover quickly from the surgery; however, if the appendix ruptures before the operation, recovery will be slower and an abscess is more likely to develop.
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