Appendicitis & Appendectomy
The appendix is a dead-end tube of tissue at the beginning of the large intestine. Pain in the lower right abdomen is often due to inflammation of the appendix, or appendicitis, and the treatment of choice is surgical removal. In some cases, appendicitis can be treated with antibiotics, but when there is a recurrence, the appendix should be removed.
Appendectomy is the most common emergency operation and can be done with open or laparoscopic (buttonhole) technique. With the former, the appendix is removed through a small incision in the right lower abdomen. For slender patients with a clear diagnosis, the conventional operation can be done quickly and with few complications.
For overweight patients and those with chronic abdominal pain that may be due to other causes, a laparoscopic procedure is preferable. The entire abdomen can be inspected, and other disorders, particularly gynecological problems (ovaries, Fallopian tubes) can be diagnosed and treated. If the appendix is not in the normal position in the right lower abdomen (see Figure), with the laparoscopic approach it can be readily found and removed.