Appendicitis: Is it a Medical Emergency?

The appendix is a small organ located in the lower right abdomen, and the smartest doctors in the world really don’t have a clue what it does, if anything. When the appendix has a blockage or becomes infected, there can be increased pressure and swelling as well as issues with blood flow. If this occurs, it then becomes appendicitis. And if the appendix bursts, it can cause a life threatening infection. Appendicitis can be scary, painful, and confusing, so this article is going to cover the basics of this condition.

While there are 3.5 million visits to the emergency room every year for bone fractures, appendicitis is another common need for a trip to the hospital. Because it is so hard to diagnose, it is also the cause of many unnecessary emergency room visits. However, because it’s such a serious condition and requires surgery, it’s usually better to be safe than to be very, very sorry. Appendicitis is considered a medical emergency and usually requires emergency surgery services. There are two main types of emergency surgery services when it comes to removing an appendix:

  1. Open appendectomy
  2. Laparoscopic appendectomy

Which surgery is done will depend on the condition of the appendix. If the appendix is just beginning to show signs of appendicitis, the surgeon may decide on a less invasive laparoscopic appendectomy. This procedure is less invasive and uses a very small incision, video camera, and surgical tools. The appendix is removed through a small hole and this method generally causes less pain for the patient. However, if the appendix has already burst, then an open appendectomy may be needed. During this procedure, an open two- to four-inch incision is made, out of which the appendix is removed.

Fortunately, both types of appendectomy come with little risks of complications. However, it’s important to note that all conditions of appendicitis require emergency medical care. Once the appendix has become infected, the patient has about 48 to 72 hours before their appendix bursts. If the appendix bursts, it can lead to peritonitis, which is a life-threatening infection.

So, what symptoms should you be aware of regarding appendicitis? Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain that begins in the belly and travels to the right side of the abdomen
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Low fever
  • Loss of appetite

While symptoms may vary from patient to patient, pain in the right side of the abdomen is the most common and prominent symptom of appendicitis.

If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should seek emergency care services as soon as possible. At an emergency clinic, the patient will be diagnosed and the method of emergency surgery services will be decided. After the patient is put under general anesthesia, the surgeon will remove the appendix. Once the procedure is done, the appendix will be sent to a lab for testing to ensure there are no further problems to be addressed.

Hopefully, this article provided some insight into appendicitis. While appendicitis is an extremely serious condition, the procedures to remove the appendix are relatively simple. Once the appendix is removed, the patient will have a short recovery period and will be back to normal in no time.

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