Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, an extension of the intestine present in all of us since birth. Dr. Stefano Bona, Head of the General Surgery and Day Surgery Department in Humanitas, guest at Life Obiettivo benessere aired on Rai Uno, spoke about appendicitis.
The appendix is an extension of the intestine, which is located at the level of the cecum, the first part of the large intestine. Usually, the appendix inflames due to an obstruction of its lumen, which is rather thin compared to the intestinal one; if the lumen obstructs, the stagnant mucus may become infected or inflamed due to the presence of bacteria in the intestine. Appendicitis is the disease most frequently found in the appendix, can affect all age groups and is most common under 14 years of age.
It is not possible to prevent inflammation of the appendix, but it is important to recognize it in good time. It may be mild and may give vague digestive disorders and moderate pain, but it may also occur in more severe and acute forms (such as peritonitis) that are urgent and require immediate medical examination and often a surgical intervention.
The pivotal symptom is the pain placed in the lower and right areas of the umbilicus, pain that can be of varying magnitude depending on the severity of inflammation and infection. Other symptoms may include: nausea, vomiting (in the most advanced phases), fever (in the most severe forms), alteration of blood tests. However, the surgeon’s assessment is essential for correct diagnosis.
How do you proceed in the case of appendicitis?
In case of acute appendicitis with peritonitis risk, surgery is required. In other cases, antibiotic therapy may be indicated or surgical procedures may be considered, provided that other causes have been ruled out and it is certain that it is appendicitis.
In most cases, the surgery is performed laparoscopically, with the introduction of a camera in the abdomen that allows for its complete exploration.