Appendicitis is one of the most common causes for a person living in America to need emergency abdominal surgery. Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix and although it is unknown why humans have an appendix, the appendix can create some serious problems.
The patient will usually complain of abdominal pain in the umbilicus area. The severity of the abdominal pain may begin as minor pain, but will gradually become sharp and more painful. The pain will usually travel from the umbilicus area to McBurney’s point within the first 12-24 hours (PubMed, 2011). Other signs and symptoms that may also present themselves will be reduced appetite, pain that worsens when coughing, diarrhea, low-grade fever and/or constipation (Mayoclinic, 2011).
The reason an individual may get appendicitis can include fecal obstruction, infection, lymph swelling, or it may even be caused by a carcinoid tumor (Prentice, 2011). Whatever the cause is the result will be an inflamed, swollen, and pus-filled appendix. As the blockage of the appendix continues to worsen the inflamed tissue will become infected with bacteria. The lack of blood supply to the appendix will result in the inflamed tissue to die, which will eventually rupture the appendix if treatment is not promptly delivered.
If a person is presenting the signs and symptoms of appendicitis they should seek immediate medical attention. At the hospital an appendectomy will most likely be performed. The surgery will most likely be performed via laparoscopy and in some cases open abdominal surgery may be performed. Open abdominal surgery is usually performed if the appendix has already ruptured. Sometimes the diagnosis of appendicitis may actual be negative and not discovered until the surgery is performed. For this reason a CT scan will most likely be taken before the surgery just to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis
After surgery the patient will most likely need to stay in the hospital for another day or two (Mayoclinic, 2011). The recovery period will take a few weeks and will take longer if open abdominal surgery was performed. In order to help the recovery period go faster some steps that can be taken include avoiding strenuous activity, get adequate rest, and support the stomach when coughing (Mayoclinic, 2011).