What is the Appendix & When is an Appendectomy Needed?
Your appendix is a finger-shaped pouch that projects out from your colon on the lower right side of your belly. This small structure has no known essential purpose, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause problems.
Appendicitis is a condition in which your appendix becomes inflamed and fills with pus. Appendicitis causes pain that typically begins around your belly button and then shifts to your lower right abdomen. Appendicitis pain typically increases over a period of 12 to 18 hours and eventually becomes very severe.
The standard appendicitis treatment is surgical removal of the appendix and antibiotics.
Your surgeon will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam. Often, you will have already been seen and evaluated by an emergency room physician. Your evaluation generally includes blood and urine tests as well as imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan.
Appendicitis surgery is most commonly done as a laparoscopic operation (minimally invasive surgery). During a Laparoscopic Appendectomy, your surgeon inserts surgical tools and a video camera into your belly through a few small incisions to remove your appendix. Sometimes, laparoscopic surgery is not appropriate. If your appendix has ruptured and infection has spread beyond your appendix, you may require an open appendectomy.