The appendix is a small, finger-shaped pouch of intestinal tissue located between
the small intestine and large intestine. If the appendix becomes infected, it must
be surgically removed before a hole develops in the appendix and spreads the infection
to the entire abdominal space.
An appendectomy is the surgical removal of an infected appendix.
Symptoms of acute appendicitis include:
- Abdominal pain (located in the lower right side)
- Fever (elevated temperature)
- Reduced appetite (anorexia)
The appendectomy is performed while the patient is in a deep sleep and pain-free using
general anesthesia. A small incision is made in the lower right side of the abdomen
and the appendix is removed. If a pocket of infection has formed or the appendix
has ruptured, the abdomen will be thoroughly washed out during surgery and a small
tube will be left in to help drain out fluids.
Recovery from a simple appendectomy is usually complete and rapid. If the appendix
has developed an abscess or ruptured, the recovery will be slower and more complicated,
requiring use of medications to treat the infection. Living without an appendix
causes no known health problems.