What Is New About Appendix Surgeries?

Appendicectomy, also called appendectomy, is one of the most commonly performed surgeries, all over the world. The appendix is a vestigial organ in the human intestine, and it is prone to inflammation. The first successful operation was carried out by Claudius Aymand in 1735 (1).

Most peopleAppendicitis never have any trouble from their appendix. However, for reasons that are not fully understood, this organ does sometimes become inflamed and filled with pus – a condition known as appendicitis. Although appendicitis can occur at any age, it is most commonly experienced by young adults, and rarely by children under two years of age. Indeed, only one person in 500 has an attack of appendicitis (2).

How Does Appendicitis Develop?

Abdominal pain is the hallmark of appendicitis, usually starting in the mid-abdomen, before travelling down to the right, to the area over the appendix. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and constipation may also be experienced.

If left untreated, the inflammation may worsen until the appendix ruptures. The contents of the appendix, which include faecal material and bacteria, then spill into the normally sterile peritoneal cavity. This can lead to peritonitis, a life-threatening inflammation of the peritoneum (abdominal lining). Abscesses may develop, threatening adjacent organs with infection. The passage of food through the intestines slows or stops. Shock, intestinal blockage, intense pain, and even death, may follow (3).

The Types of Appendicitis

The inflammation can occur in three ways (4). The most common type is called “Catarrhal type,” in which there is infection and inflammation of the inner lining of the appendix. With prompt treatment using intravenous antibiotics, most of the time they settle down but are still prone to recur.

The “Obstructive type” is dangerous. Small stones or hard fecal matter can cause the obstruction, and this makes the appendix swell and get infected rapidly. Pus forms, and if the appendix is left untreated, it can rupture and cause serious complications.

In the “Fibrous type or chronic type” the attacks are mild and are near the tip, which becomes fibrosed with each attack.