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Appendicitis



Appendicitis Definition


Appendicitis, also known as epityphlitis, is a condition wherein an inflammation of the appendix occurs. Although mild cases of appendicitis can be resolved without any treatment, most require removal of the appendix.


Appendicitis Symptoms and Signs


Symptoms of acute appendicitis are classified into two – typical and atypical. Typical symptoms of acute appendicitis start with pain before localizing to the lower right side of the abdomen. As the inflammation progresses, the involvement of somatic nerves start. Along with this abdominal pain, other symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite occur. Diagnosis is easy to make with typical symptoms and in turn, surgery is made earlier and prognosis is often less severe. With atypical symptoms, pain starts and stays in the right “iliac fossa” combined with diarrhea and micturition, if the inflamed appendix is in contact with the bladder. Diagnoses of atypical symptoms include ultrasound and CT scans. Surgical findings are usually more severe.


Appendicitis Treatment


Treatment of appendicitis usually starts by keeping patient from drinking and eating anything to prepare for surgery. Since water is also prohibited, an intravenous drip is used to hydrate the appendicitis patient. Antibiotics, such as metronidazole and cefuroxime are given intravenously to help in killing bacteria early, while reducing the spread of infections in the abdomen and preventing postoperative complications in the wound or abdomen. If a patient has eaten no food in the past 6 hours, general anesthesia is used. Otherwise, doctors will use spinal anesthesia. An Appendicectomy – the surgery procedure for removing the appendix – is performed via a laparoscopic approach or three small incisions using a camera to visualize the abdomen. If findings confirm appendicitis with associated complications such as adhesions, abscess, rupture and other symptoms, conversion to open laparotomy is required. Surgery for mild cases of appendicitis takes 15 minutes in thin patients and several hours for complicated cases. Length of hospital stays may vary from overnight to several days.


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