The appendix, also called cecal appendix, is an organ that will disappear in the next generations, but still represents one of the causes of urgent abdominal surgeries.
The appendix is a small organ, generally not longer than 5 cm, without a defined function. It has in its interior a large amount of defense tissue of the body, especially in children and adolescents. Even though, its absence is not responsible for the increasing of incidence of any disease. In other words, the cecal appendix is a dispensable organ.
Despite its little important function, when inflamed it may cause serious abdominal complications, including risk of death. The appendicitis is characterized by pain in the lower right region of the abdomen, generally in a progressive manner, related mainly to the loss of appetite. The disease appears in several ways, what makes something apparently simple a diagnosis challenge. The appendicitis is more common in children and old people, but can affect men and women of all ages.
It does not always come with fever. The symptoms in their majority are not very serious, but progressive. Appendicitis tens to get gradually worse, but self-medication with painkillers and anti-inflammatory pills may mask its natural evolution and mislead the doctor.
If a person has pain in the lower right side of the abdomen that does not go away and that worsens gradually, he must look for an emergency service that has a general surgeon on call. Some exams, such as X-ray and echography may be important in the beginning of the evaluation, especially to eliminate other causes of this type of stomachache.
Eventually, a patient with abdominal pain that is not well defined may be released to go home and return to the hospital if the doctor needs a reevaluation to eliminate the hypothesis of appendicitis. Generally, in this situation the surgeon is called for the reevaluation. Other times, the diagnosis is clearer and the patient must check in the hospital to be operated on. Normally the operation is performed as soon as possible.
The best way to operate the acute appendicitis is through a minimally invasive surgery. This method allows a better visualization and precision during the surgery to the doctor and fewer risks to the patient. The minilaparoscopy may also be used, allowing the removal of the appendix practically without an apparent scar.