Read about appendicitis medical facts: what is the definition of appendicitis, what are the signs and symptoms, medical treatment & how to treat appendicitis, and related appendicitis diseases.

Definition: What is "Appendicitis"?


Appendicitis, also known as epityphlitis, is a condition wherein an inflammation of the appendix occurs. Although mild cases of appendicitis can be resolved without any treatment, most require removal of the appendix.

Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms of acute appendicitis are classified into two - typical & atypical. Typical symptoms of acute appendicitis start with pain before localizing to the lower right side of the abdomen. As the inflammation progresses, the involvement of somatic nerves start. Along with this abdominal pain, other symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting & loss of appetite occur. Diagnosis is easy to make with typical symptoms & in turn, surgery is made earlier & prognosis is often less severe. With atypical symptoms, pain starts & stays in the right "iliac fossa" combined with diarrhea & micturition, if the inflamed appendix is in contact with the bladder. Diagnoses of atypical symptoms include ultrasound & CT scans. Surgical findings are usually more severe.

Treatment: How to Treat "Appendicitis"?

Treatment of appendicitis usually starts by keeping patient from drinking & eating anything to prepare for surgery. Since water is also prohibited, an intravenous drip is used to hydrate the appendicitis patient. Antibiotics, such as metronidazole & cefuroxime are given intravenously to help in killing bacteria early, while reducing the spread of infections in the abdomen & preventing postoperative complications in the wound or abdomen. If a patient has eaten no food in the past 6 hours, general anesthesia is used. Otherwise, doctors will use spinal anesthesia. An Appendicectomy - the surgery procedure for removing the appendix - is performed via a laparoscopic approach or three small incisions using a camera to visualize the abdomen. If findings confirm appendicitis with associated complications such as adhesions, abscess, rupture & other symptoms, conversion to open laparotomy is required. Surgery for mild cases of appendicitis takes 15 minutes in thin patients & several hours for complicated cases. Length of hospital stays may vary from overnight to several days.

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