Appendicitis or infection of the appendix can happen to anyone. Symptoms tend to appear quickly, often over a day or two. Symptoms can include: pain that starts in the center of the abdomen and moves to the lower right side. It can be associated with nausea, vomiting or decreased appetite, and frequently, fever.
Medication can not cure appendicitis. Appendectomy (surgery to remove an infected appendix) can. This is a very common procedure and removing the appendix does not affect your long term health. It is best to remove the appendix before it bursts. If an infected or burst appendix is not removed, it can cause serious health problems including but not limited to pelvic abscess, septic peritonitis or even death.
After a thorough evaluation and when the diagnosis of appendicitis is made, surgery is needed. The goal of surgery is to remove the appendix safely. In most cases, the surgery lasts from 1-2 hours. If the appendix has perforated, surgery may take longer. One of two techniques may be used to reach the appendix: open or laparoscopically. The surgeon will decide which technique is best on an individual basis.
In most cases, the incisions are closed with staples or stiches. A temporary drain may be placed in the abdomen.
Most patients recover quickly after appendectomy and may leave the hospital the same day of surgery. Perforated appendicitis will require longer hospital stay for intravenous antibiotics to help ward off infection or abscess. After discharge from the hospital, plan on a follow-up visit with your surgeon in 1-2 weeks.