Appendectomy and Appendicitis
Dennis Lee, MD
Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
- Appendectomy facts
- What is the appendix?
- What is appendicitis?
- What are the complications of appendicitis?
- What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis diagnosed?
- Why can it be difficult to diagnose appendicitis?
- What other conditions mimic appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis treated?
- How is an appendectomy done?
- What are the complications of appendectomy?
- Are there long-term consequences of removing the appendix?
- Patient Comments: Appendectomy - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Appendectomy - Complications
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- The appendix is a small, worm-like appendage attached to the colon (large intestine).
- Appendicitis occurs when bacteria invade and infect the wall of the appendix.
- The most common complications of appendicitis are abscess and peritonitis.
- The most common manifestations of appendicitis are pain, fever, and abdominal tenderness.
- Appendicitis usually is suspected on the basis of a patient's history and physical examination; however, a white blood cell count, urinalysis, abdominal x-ray, barium enema, ultrasonography, CT, and laparoscopy also may be helpful in diagnosis.
- Due to the varying size and location of the appendix and the proximity of other organs to the appendix, it may be difficult to differentiate appendicitis from other abdominal and pelvic diseases.
- The treatment for appendicitis usually is antibiotics and removal of the appendectomy.
- Complications of appendectomy include wound infection, abscess, multiple abscesses and possible sepsis (bacteria in the bloodstream).
What is the appendix?
The appendix is a closed-ended, narrow tube that attaches to the cecum (the first part of the colon, also know as the large intestine) like a worm. (The anatomical name for the appendix, vermiform appendix, means worm-like appendage.) The inner lining of the appendix produces a small amount of mucus that flows through the appendix and into the cecum. The wall of the appendix contains lymphatic tissue that is part of the immune system for making antibodies. Like the rest of the colon, the wall of the appendix also contains a layer of muscle.
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