Appendicitis

Introduction

Appendicitis is the swelling (inflammation) of the appendix. The appendix is a small, tube like organ attached to the large intestine. The condition is due to blockage inside the appendix. The blockage leads to increased pressure and inflammation. Appendicitis can occur at any age but it is more common during childhood and adolescence.

Symptoms

The main symptom is pain in abdomen. It is dull initially but gets worse over time.

Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Low grade fever

Causes

The exact reason for acute appendicitis is still unclear.  Although, it is associated with the blockage  inside the appendix. This blockage  can be due to small pieces of faeces, a foreign body or infection.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis may include thorough physical examination and careful consideration of the symptoms. If the diagnosis is not clear, then laboratory tests and ultrasound or CT scans may be performed.

Management

Treatment generally include  surgical removal of appendix.  This procedure is known as an appendicectomy or appendectomy. The appendix is removed using laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. In this procedure, surgeon uses a slender instrument (laparoscope), which is inserted through tiny incisions (cuts) in the abdomen. This eliminates the need for an abdominal incision.