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Acute Appendicitis

What is acute appendicitis

Appendix is part of the normal bowel, situated between the small bowel and the large bowel. It is considered as an end bowel as it has no continuity with the rest of the bowel. Acute appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. This inflammation causes congestion, swelling and ultimately reduced blood supply to the appendix. Hence part or the entire appendix may die resulting in perforation of the appendix. Acute appendicitis may happen in adult as well as in children.


What are the symptoms of acute appendicitis

The commonest symptom of acute appendicitis is pain at the right lower abdomen. Usually this symptom will progress very fast to involve the entire lower abdomen. Frequently there will be associated fever, nausea and vomiting. Occasionally patient will experience diarrhoea or painful micturition especially if the inflamed appendix is located close to the rectum or bladder.


Can we avoid from getting acute appendicitis

Acute inflammation of the appendix is a natural process of inflammation of any part of the bowel. Unfortunately we cannot avoid from getting acute appendicitis. It happens when it happens.

What is the treatment for acute appendicitis

Any patients with suspected acute appendicitis presented with right lower abdominal pain with or without any other associated symptoms should get an early assessment by a doctor. Confirmation of the diagnosis will be supported by certain blood investigation. Usually it is a clinical diagnosis where a doctor upon examination and assessment of the supporting blood investigations confirm the diagnosis. Imaging such as ultrasound or CT scan may help in cases where diagnosis is difficult for example in obese patients or when the symptoms are not convincing. Early treatment necessitates removal of the inflamed appendix through a small surgery. This is called an appendectomy surgery. This surgery can either be a conventional open surgery or minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopic surgery). Occasionally a laparotomy or an open surgery of the abdomen is warranted especially if the appendix has perforated and causing a generalized contamination inside the abdomen.

acute_appendicitis3   acute_appendicitis4
Scar from conventional open appendectomy – a linear incision located at the right lower abdomen   Scar from laparoscopic appendectomy – three small incisions at the abdomen(it may vary according to surgeons)


Scar from laparotomy for perforated appendicitis or complicated appendicitis

How is the expected recovery from appendectomy surgery

The recovery from an appendectomy surgery is usually very fast provided there are no other complications or consequences of perforated appendicitis. Recovery from laparoscopic appendectomy is much faster as it involves smaller incisions. Patients are usually allowed normal diet a day after the surgery if there are no other untoward complications.

What are the consequences of not treating acute appendicitis

Usually acute appendicitis will progress from acute inflammation to perforation. No other treatment will be able to stop the progression except it is operated and removed before it causes more serious harm to the patient. A perforated appendicitis will cause high fever, severe abdominal pain, intestinal obstruction and septic shock.


  1. http://www.enkivillage.com/where-is-your-appendix
  2. http://www.ihealthblogger.com/2013/06/appendix-pain-location-causes-diagnosis-treatment-surgery
  3. http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/health/health+az/symptoms+of+appendicitis,23153
  4. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/presentations/100001_3


Last Reviewed : 23 August 2019
Writer : Dr. Mohamad Shukri b. Jahit
Accreditor : Dr. Salina bt. Ibrahim
Reviewer : Dr. Mohamad Hamim b. Mohamad Hanifah