It is a medical emergency that when left untreated can cause serious consequences.It usually requires prompt surgery to remove the appendix. Left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity.
Sometimes a pus-filled abscess (an infection that is walled off from the rest of the body) forms outside the inflamed appendix. Scar tissue then "walls off" the appendix from the rest of the abdomen, preventing infection from spreading. An abscessed appendix can perforate or leak and cause peritonitis. For this reason, all cases of appendicitis are treated as emergencies, requiring surgery.
Causes of Appendicitis
Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, often by stool, a foreign body, or cancer. The blockage may also occur from infection since the appendix swells in response to an infection in the body.When there’s an obstruction in the appendix, bacteria can multiply inside the organ. This leads to the formation of pus. The increased pressure can be painful.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The classic symptoms of appendicitis include:
How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed?
Diagnosing appendicitis can be tricky. Symptoms of appendicitis are frequently vague or extremely similar to other ailments, including gallbladder problems, bladder or urinary tract infection, Crohn's disease, gastritis, intestinal infection, and ovary problems.
The following tests are usually used to make the diagnosis:
How Is Appendicitis Treated?
Surgery to remove the appendix, which is called an appendectomy, is the standard treatment for appendicitis.In the present day, this operation is done laparoscopically.If done early in the course of the disease this operation can give an early scar free recovery for most patients.The patient typically gets discharged in 2 days and return to their normal, life within a week of laparoscopic appendectomy.
Generally, if appendicitis is suspected, doctors tend to err on the side of safety and quickly remove the appendix to avoid its rupture. If the appendix has formed an abscess, you may have two procedures: one to drain the abscess of pus and fluid, and a later one to remove the appendix.
Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad