What is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis occurs if your appendix becomes inflamed or infected, and fills with pus. The appendix is a small finger-shaped organ connected to the large intestine on the right side of the abdomen.
Appendicitis is typically caused by a blockage within the appendix, which causes blood flow issues, inflammation, infection, and pressure. The appendix can rupture if not treated.
Appendicitis can occur at any age, but it is most common in individuals in their teens and 20s.
Appendicitis can cause the following signs and symptoms:
- Pain that starts on the right side of the lower abdomen and spreads.
- Pain that originates around your navel and frequently moves to your lower right abdomen.
- Pain that intensifies with coughing, walking, or other jarring movements
- Vomiting and nausea
- Appetite loss
- Fever of low intensity that may worsen as the illness advances
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Bloating in the abdomen
Your pain location may vary depending on your age and the position of your appendix. Because your appendix is higher during pregnancy, the pain may appear to emanate from your upper abdomen when you’re pregnant.
Appendicitis is most commonly caused by a blockage in the appendix lining, which leads to infection. The germs multiply quickly, inflaming, swelling, and covering the appendix with pus. The appendix might rupture if not treated promptly. The specific cause of appendicitis is unknown in many cases. Many factors can obstruct your appendix, including:
- Hardened stool or growths that can block the opening inside the appendix
- Intestinal worms
- Enlarged lymphoid follicles
- Traumatic injury
- Age – Appendicitis is more common among teenagers and persons in their 20s but it can occur at any age.
- Sex – Males are more likely than females to develop appendicitis.
- A family History – People with a family history of appendicitis are more likely to develop it.
Types of Appendicitis
Acute Appendicitis :
Acute appendicitis is a severe case of appendicitis that occurs suddenly. It is more common in children and young adults aged 10 to 30 years old. It is more common in men than in women. Over the course of 24 hours, pain tends to build and increase quickly. It requires immediate medical treatment. It can rupture your appendix if left untreated. This is a potentially deadly problem. Acute appendicitis is more prevalent than chronic appendicitis, affecting 7 to 9 percent of all people at some point in their lives.
Chronic appendicitis is rare than acute appendicitis. It affects only approximately 1.5 percent of persons who have previously experienced acute appendicitis.
Chronic appendicitis symptoms might be mild and are believed to occur after an acute case of appendicitis. Symptoms may fade for a few weeks, months, or even years before reappearing.
This form of appendicitis can be difficult to identify. It is sometimes not diagnosed until it has advanced to acute appendicitis.
Chronic appendicitis can be very dangerous.
And depending on the complications:
- Simple Appendicitis – Cases with no complications.
- Complex Appendicitis – Cases that involve complications like appendix rupture or abscess.
Treatment for Appendicitis
If you have appendicitis, your appendix will usually need to be removed as soon as possible. This operation is known as an appendicectomy or appendectomy. Surgery is often recommended if there is a risk of appendicitis but no proper diagnosis has been determined. This is because it is considered to be safer to remove the appendix rather than risk it bursting. In humans, the appendix serves no use and its removal has no long-term consequences. To remove an inflamed appendix, a surgical removal of the appendix (appendectomy) is usually performed. To prevent the spread of infection, antibiotics are given before the surgery.
1) Surgical procedure:
Appendectomy can be done by:
Laparotomy – Open surgery is performed after a 2 to 4 inch incision is made.
Laparoscopic surgery or Keyhole surgery is performed by making a few small abdominal incisions and using specific surgical equipment and a camera.
Laparoscopy procedure is usually preferred over open surgery for removing the appendix since the recovery time is shorter.
The treatment helps make three or four small cuts (incisions) in your stomach (abdomen).
Special instruments are used, such as:
- A tube through which gas is pushed to inflate your belly, allowing the surgeon to see your appendix more clearly and provide them more room to work.
- A laparoscope – a tiny tube with a light and a camera that transmits images of the abdomen to a television monitor
- Small surgical tools used to extract the appendix
Dissolvable stitches may be used to close the incisions after your appendix has been removed.
2) Abscess Drainage Before Surgery:
Before appendectomy, if the appendix has burst and an abscess has formed around it, the abscess is drained. A tube is inserted through the skin to drain the abscess.
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