The appendix has attracted many in the medical field, albeit a small organ only averaging 11 centimeters in length. Despite the attention paid to this organ over the years, the role of this organ has still not been clearly established. Some scientists are of the opinion that this organ is totally useless but others deem that it is an important organ and plays an important role in the body’s immune system. Since this organ is worm shaped, it is also known as vermiform appendix. Some strictly believe that this organ is of great importance, since this is present in the human body and cannot be there without any specific purpose. And although we cannot pinpoint exactly what the appendix does, some doctors firmly believe it is there for an important reason and are strictly against it’s removal.
The location of the appendix can differ slightly since every human body is unique. The lower right quadrant is the normal place where appendix is located – underneath the right rib in the body’s abdomen. It is located between the junction of the small and large intestines – in other words where the small and large intestines meet. This place has a pouch known as cecum. The cecum is located in the beginning of the large intestines and the appendix is located on the junction of this cecum and the ileum. In very rare cases, people can suffer from a medical condition known as situs inversus where some or all the organs are located on the opposite side – in such cases the appendix will be located on the left side. It depends upon the anatomy of the body to know the exact location of the appendix.
In 99% of people though, the appendix is located on the right side of the abdomen. Why it’s there is unknown, but there is a school of thought that it is part of the digestive tract mainly because in ancient times humans used to live on leaves and barks of the tree. Since it contains a lot of cellulose, the appendix used to play an important role in the digestion of this cellulose. It is believed that due to the slow evolution of the basic human diet, such foods are no longer consumed therefore rendering this organ useless. Doctors are also of the opinion that since the lining of the appendix is filled with lymphatic tissue, it plays an important role in the immune system by releasing antibodies. This theory is widely controversial as well since the appendix does contain mucous – something the immune system attempts to fight against.
Unfortunately, the location of appendix in the human body makes it more vulnerable to infections. Inflammation of the appendix is a common disease known as appendicitis, which requires surgical intervention or risk the rupture therefore infecting the stomach lining and both small and large intestines. The general public is unaware of the appendix location, but when the organ is inflamed, it is quite apparent as the pain is localized in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. Pain usually begins in the center of the abdomen which is acute in the beginning, but becomes more localized with when it is felt at the right lower quadrant. Once it is deemed necessary to be removed, surgeons will use modern techniques like laparotomy or laparoscopy to completely remove the organ to relieve the infection. The surgical removal of appendix is termed as appendectomy, which is normally done in emergencies. Doctors also use intravenous antibiotics to control the infection and onset of sepsis. Whatever the case, if there is a pain in the right lower quadrant, never ignore it, seek medical help immediately.