Appendicitis occurs in 8 out of 100 people in their lifetime and is most common in people ages 10 to 40. If diagnosed and treated early healthy people can make a full recovery without any further complications. Appendicitis is diagnosed with a combination of a physical exam including abdominal examination, rectal exam a urine test to rule out urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Blood tests may be performed to check for infection. Also diagnostic imagining such as abdominal CT scans and ultrasounds can be done to visually detect the enlargement associated with the inflammation of the appendix. Standard treatment for appendicitis is an appendectomy, the surgical removal of the appendix. Antibiotics are administered once appendicitis is suspected to help combat peritonitis. An appendectomy is a laparoscopic procedure which is performed while you are asleep under general anesthesia. A laparoscope is a very thin instrument that resembles a telescope which allows viewing into the abdomen.
If blood tests point to infection but it cannot be localized if your doctor suspects appendicitis they may elect to remove it as a precautionary because a ruptured appendix is a life-threatening condition. A diagnostic laparoscopic procedure can be done to rule out or definitively diagnose appendicitis. If diagnostics reveal the appendix has already burst you may undergo treatments and antibiotics regiments to cure the infection before the appendectomy may be performed. Also if the appendix has already ruptured or there is pus and infection from seeping abscesses on the exterior of the appendix, the abdomen may be irrigated and drained in addition to the appendectomy. Normal recovery times for uncomplicated appendectomies include normal movement within 12 hours of surgery and a full return to regular activities within 2 to 3 weeks post surgery. As with any surgery if symptoms of uncontrolled vomiting, increased abdominal pain, blood in urine, dizziness, fever, or redness and pus in the incision site. You should seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms may be a sign of additional abdominal infection or a complication of the appendectomy.
Prompt removal and antibiotic therapy is essential because the bacteria filled pus released from a ruptured appendix may enter into the blood stream and cause sepsis. Sepsis can be fatal as the immune system attempts to fight infection that is widespread via the bloodstream. Symptoms of sepsis include low blood pressure and poor blood circulation that can eventually lead to shock. 40% of all sepsis cases result in death. Sepsis is especially fatal in elderly people with the death rate being 80% in the older age groups.