Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix which is a tube of tissue that extends from the large intestine. No one is absolutely certain what the function of the appendix is, however, we do know that we can live without it.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires prompt surgery. If left untreated, an inflamed appendix will eventually burst, or perforate, spilling infectious materials into the abdominal cavity. This can lead to a condition known as peritonitis which is a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity's lining and can be fatal unless it is treated quickly with strong antibiotics
Sometimes a pus-filled abscess forms on the outside of the appendix and separates it from the from the rest of the abdomen, preventing infection from spreading. An abscessed appendix is a less urgent situation, but unfortunately, it can't be identified without surgery. For this reason, all cases of appendicitis are treated as emergencies, requiring surgery.
Appendix removal surgery: Appendectomy (Appendix removal surgery) description coming soon.
Appendectomy appendicitis symptoms may include:
- Dull pain near the navel or the upper or lower abdomen that becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right abdomen; this is usually the first sign, but it only occurs in half of appendicitis cases.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and/or vomiting soon after abdominal pain begins
- Abdominal swelling
- Temperature of 99 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Constipation or diarrhea with gas
- Inability to pass gas
- Dull or sharp pain anywhere in the upper or lower abdomen, back, or rectum
- Painful urination
- Vomiting that precedes the abdominal pain
What to Expect if Surgery is Required
We will phone in prescriptions for you to have on hand after surgery. We will prescribe a pain reliever and possibly an antibiotic.
You should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery. This includes candy, water, coffee, and gum. If there are any medications that you take on a regular basis and are concerned about taking them the morning of surgery, please call Dr. Cole to discuss this with him.
Dr. Cole may recommend that you see your primary care doctor or other specialists involved in your care to obtain a surgical clearance.
Please bathe or shower prior to surgery. Remove all makeup, jewelry, hairpieces and false eyelashes. Do not use lotions or oils after bathing.
Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to put on and remove.
Dr. Cole recommends bed rest once you arrive home on the day of surgery. Dr. Cole will suggest that you stay indoors and take it easy the first 3 days after surgery. Once Dr. Cole sees you in the office for your 7 day follow up it will be determined the extent of your activities and physical exertion.
Days 1 – 3:
- You can take a shower (NO BATH) on the first post-operative day. There will probably be a clear plastic dressing over your incision. This should be removed 3 days after surgery. There will be a glue-like substance over your incision (no sutures seen as they dissolve on their own). You may shower without the need of a protective bandage
- After every surgery there will be swelling, which is a normal tissue response. Bruising may also be seen under the incision. Again, ice will help significantly.
- You may sit on a sofa, or at your desk, but minimize your activity
- No heavy lifting greater than 15 pounds for approximately 6 weeks after surgery
Days 4 – 30:
- A ridge of firm tissue will develop beneath your incision. This is part of the normal healing process and will resolve over the next few months
- Massage with Aloe Vera gel for the next 2 – 3 months, 2 – 3 times per day. This will help to break down the scarring process
- Should you develop a fever or the wound becomes very swollen, tender and/or red, contact Dr. Cole immediately
- Please call Dr. Cole the following morning to check-in and make an appointment within 7 – 10 days