What is Appendicitis?
In this condition there is infection followed by inflammation of the appendix. Appendix is a tail like structure found at the junction of small and large bowel. It is a rudimentary organ (not necessary for normal function of gut), only useful in animals.
What are the symptoms?
Typically there is pain in the right lower part of tummy. This is sudden onset with sometimes vomiting and fever associated. Any movement or cough will aggravate the pain. The pain to start of is in the centre of tummy, but with time localises to right lower part where the appendix is situated.
How is it diagnosed?
Often the diagnosis is by clinical examination. Typical location of pain is there. On pressing the right lower part, the child winces in pain. Blood counts may show elevated white cells. Ultrasound is often performed, not to look for appendix, but to exclude other causes of abdominal pain like kidney stones or ovarian cyst.
What is the treatment?
The treatment is emergency surgery to remove the infected appendix. Laparoscopic operation can be performed to minimise scar and hasten recovery.
What is the outcome?
If not operated in time, rupture of appendix can lead to a life threatening complication called peritonitis, where pus is spread all inside the abdomen. Operation and recovery after peritonitis are complicated. However for simple appendicitis, a quick recovery is the norm.