One of the parts of the body that still continues to baffle medical professionals is the appendix. Also known as vermix, this is a small pouch found in the junction of the large and small intestine. There is a common belief that this organ has no specific function though immunologists have proven that it serves an important role in producing beneficial bacteria for the body.
When this part of the body gets infected or blocked, it has a high chance of swelling or rupturing. Also known as appendicitis, it is characterized as the condition when the appendix gets swollen or filled with pus. This leads to its removal which fortunately, is not harmless to the body. In fact, there is an average of 250,000 patients who get their appendix removed annually in the United States alone.
There are two common causes of a ruptured appendix. The first is when an infection in the stomach affects it and when something gets trapped to it which triggers its infection. A ruptured appendix which is left untreated can be extremely fatal because the bacteria which have accumulated on the pouch will be released on the body and affect other organs when it finally ruptures.
Symptoms of a ruptured appendix are worsening progressive pain on the side, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and painful sneezing or coughing. Symptoms of appendicitis are similar to other abdominal problems such as Crohn’s disease or urinary tract infection so asking the help of a professional early on is a must.
Before, physicians recommend for the appendix to be removed when a patient suffers from another abdominal problem and undergoes surgery to rule out the possibility of having an undiagnosed appendicitis. Nowadays, however, the organ is retained if it is in a healthy condition because it can be used in reconstructive surgeries.
There is only one way of treating appendicitis and that is by having it removed through surgery or appendectomy. There are different approaches to remove an infected appendix. The most common procedure is for the surgeon to create a small incision on the belly and remove the organ by cutting it. This is called open appendectomy in which incisions of about two to three inches long are made on the abdominal wall. If there is pus on the organ, it will be drained through the use of tubes.
The second type of surgery is laparoscopic appendectomy. The techniques used here are less invasive than the other type and involves creating three or four incisions near the appendix. Afterwards, a small camera and some surgical instruments are inserted on the cuts. The camera will project an enlarged image of the infected appendix on the monitor, enabling the surgeon to cut the organ. Though this procedure is a little more expensive than the normal appendectomy, surveys have shown that patients recover faster in this procedure.
Since a ruptured appendix is connected to infection, patients are advised to take antibiotics to clean their system. Antibiotics treatment is dependent on the case of the patient and the physician may advise to have it taken before or after the operation.