The appendix is a thin tube-like structure in the lower right abdomen attached to the large intestine. If it becomes infected by a virus, bacteria, or parasites in the digestive tract or gets blocked by stool or tumors, a person can develop appendicitis.
Patients with appendicitis often require an appendectomy to remove the appendix. Below, our team explains the signs and symptoms of appendicitis for those who may need an appendectomy at Sierra Pacific Surgical in Folsom or Roseville, CA.
An obstruction will restrict blood flow to the appendix and cause it to swell. This happens quickly because the appendix is so small. Getting an appendicitis diagnosis right away is essential. If an appendectomy is not performed within a few days, the appendix can burst.
A ruptured appendix can cause an infection in the bloodstream and an inflammation of the abdominal lining, called peritonitis, which can be fatal.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of appendicitis helps patients seek treatment promptly. The most common sign of appendicitis is the sudden onset of abdominal pain. This pain may develop in the center of the naval but moves to the lower right side over a few hours or days. Appendicitis pain may also worsen when walking, coughing, taking deep breaths, or making sudden movements.
Patients who experience severe stomach pain need to be evaluated by a doctor at Sierra Pacific Surgical quickly to get an appendicitis diagnosis. A rupture can occur roughly 36 hours after the onset of pain, causing pain to spread throughout the belly.
Other signs and symptoms of appendicitis in Sacramento, CA include:
Constipation (trouble having a bowel movement)
Diarrhea (loose stool)
Fever and chills
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of appetite
Rigid abdominal muscles
Pregnant women may feel acute pain in the upper part of the abdomen if they have appendicitis because the appendix is higher up in the body during pregnancy.
If you’re undergoing surgery near Sacramento, CA, our team will run tests to confirm an appendicitis diagnosis. These may include an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
There are two types of appendectomy procedures: open and laparoscopic. The laparoscopic method is minimally invasive and involves a series of small incisions through which a surgeon inserts a small, high-resolution camera called a laparoscope. This helps guide the surgical instruments and remove the appendix. However, if the images reveal complications, a patient may require an open appendectomy.
During an open appendectomy, a surgeon will make a larger incision in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen to remove the appendix. If it has ruptured, they will insert a shunt to drain the fluids and prevent a wider infection.
If the appendix has not burst, a patient may be able to go home the same day as the surgery. Patients with a ruptured appendix will need antibiotic treatment to ensure the infection is under control. However, most people recover fully from an appendectomy within six weeks.
In some cases, those who are not good candidates for surgery may be treated with antibiotics if their appendix has not ruptured. However, this comes with the risk of recurrent appendicitis.
An appendectomy is a common emergency procedure. Sierra Pacific Surgical offers high-quality patient care to those in need of this life-saving surgery. To learn more about appendectomies performed by our Sacramento area surgeons, contact one of our centers in Roseville or Folsom, CA.