By Dr. Anjali Sethi, General Surgery
Even Roald Dahl faked having appendicitis in his famous book, but, what exactly is appendicitis? Wouldn’t it be a little interesting, to say the least, to find out what causes it and what treatment a person can expect to undergo in the case of getting it?
Quite simply, appendicitis is the name of the condition when the appendix swells up. Under normal circumstances, it is about three and a half inches in length. The ironic part about this is the fact that though appendicitis may cause tremendous pain and warrants surgery, no doctor is really aware of the reason why the appendix exists, in the first place! As a matter of fact, it is fully possible to live without an appendix and many people have not experienced any health problems after having their appendix removed.
While the appendix does not serve any properly defined function, this really does not mean that appendicitis is something that is not all that serious. In fact, if there is an explosion of the appendix, a person can die without very strong levels of medication in a time bound manner!
So, what is the cause behind this scary prospect? Simply said, when the appendix gets blocked, the result is appendicitis. What blocks it? Well, it could be cancer, a foreign body or even stool! That being said, it is to be kept in mind that this is not the only reason as to why appendicitis exists. If there is an infection in the body, in response to it, the appendix may end up getting inflamed.
With the exception of a very small minority of cases in which very strong antibiotics are made use of in order to treat appendicitis, a surgery to remove the appendix is usually a given case scenario when a person has appendicitis. As a matter of fact, it is treated as an emergency and the doctors go ahead and start the treatment as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of the rupture of the appendix.
It usually takes about two or three weeks before a person can get back to normal activities though some gentle movement can be undertaken within about twelve hours since the end of the operation. There are two types of surgery. If a laparoscopic surgery is being performed, the recovery is relatively straightforward but if an open surgery is performed, the recovery can take more time and would require a greater amount of care.