Rocky Mountains Colorado

Conditions and Procedures

Treatment and Surgery for Acute Appendicitis / Appendectomy

Drawing of the small and large intestine with detail of cecum and appendixThe appendix is a small hollow organ that is attached to the beginning of the colon.  It is generally located in the right lower portion of your abdomen.  If the appendix becomes clogged it can swell and eventually become infected.  This is called acute appendicitis.  Generally this will begin with vague abdominal pain, nausea and occasionally diarrhea.  Most people will have a poor appetite.  Over the course of hours or days the pain will intensify and move to the right lower abdomen.  Fever and worsening nausea may occur. 

If left untreated the appendix may rupture and cause patients to become gravely ill.  Not all patients present with the typical symptoms, so it is important to consider appendicitis early with any concerning symptoms.

If you suspect you may have appendicitis it is critical that you seek medical attention immediately.  Although antibiotics may halt the progression of appendicitis, it generally will not cure the condition.  Patients will have worsening symptoms when the antibiotics are stopped.

Surgical removal of the appendix is currently the only way to definitively cure appendicitis.  If diagnosed early, surgically removing the appendix is done using minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques. Most patients will be discharged within 24 hours of surgery.