Appendix Surgery

Location of appendix

What is the appendix?

The appendix is a small pouch that is attached to the end of the large intestine. It creates a small amount of mucus that empties into the large intestine, but it does not seem to be needed for the body to function normally.

In some cases, a blockage in the appendix will interfere with the flow of mucus into the intestine, causing swelling and infection. This condition is known as appendicitis and is most easily detected by a sharp pain in the lower, right corner of the abdomen where the appendix is located. If appendicitis is not treated as soon as possible, the appendix could burst, causing the infection to spread into the abdomen. This can be fatal.

Appendix surgery to treat appendicitis

Appendix surgery is the only way to treat appendicitis. This procedure is often performed when acute appendicitis is suspected and is one of the most common emergency surgeries performed in the United States. During an appendectomy, the swollen appendix is simply removed from the body. In most cases, a laparoscopic appendectomy is performed to remove the appendix using a series of very small incisions. There are no known adverse effects from living without an appendix.