Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Appendicitis facts
- What is the appendix?
- What is appendicitis and what causes appendicitis?
- What are the symptoms of appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis diagnosed?
- Imaging studies to diagnosis appendicitis
- Why can it be difficult to diagnose appendicitis?
- What is stump appendicitis
- What are the complications of appendicitis?
- What other conditions can mimic appendicitis?
- How is appendicitis treated?
- How is an appendectomy done?
- What are the complications of appendectomy?
- Are there long-term consequences of appendectomy?
- What is new about appendicitis?
- Pictures of Appendicitis & Appendectomy - Slideshow
- Medical Illustrations of Appendix Image Collection
- Take the Appendicitis Quiz
- Appendicitis FAQs
- Find a local Doctor in your town
- The appendix is a small, worm-like appendage attached to the colon.
- Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes blocked, and bacteria invade and infect the wall and lumen of the appendix.
- The most common complications of appendicitis are rupture, abscess, and peritonitis.
- The most common signs and symptoms of appendicitis are:
- 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 scan, 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 appendectomy (surgery to remove the appendix).
- Complications of appendectomy include wound infection and abscess.
- Other conditions that can mimic appendicitis include Meckel's diverticulitis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), inflammatory diseases of the right upper abdomen (gallbladder disease, liver disease, or perforated duodenal ulcer), right-sided diverticulitis, and kidney diseases.
What is the appendix?
The appendix is a closed-ended, narrow tube up to several inches in length that attaches to the cecum (the first part of the colon) 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 open central core of the appendix and into the cecum. The wall of the appendix contains lymphatic tissue that is part of the immune system. Like the rest of the colon, the wall of the appendix also contains a layer of muscle, but the layer of muscle is poorly developed.
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