Appendicitis

The appendix is a small, narrow tube attached to the large intestine. It is located in the lower right area of your abdomen and is part of the digestive system, though it serves no known function. Appendicitis occurs when the interior of the appendix becomes blocked with mucus, stool or parasites. Because of the risk of rupture, appendicitis is considered an emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Learn more about appendicitis.

General and gastrointestinal surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) offer highly effective treatment for patients with appendicitis. Our board certified surgeons have an unmatched depth of surgical experience, performing thousands of minimally invasive surgical procedures each year. This means better care for common operations such as laparoscopic appendectomy.

Appendix Topics

Treatment for Appendicitis

Because the appendix may rupture and cause a severe, life-threatening infection known as peritonitis, surgery to remove the appendix (appendectomy) is necessary. Appendectomy surgical options for appendicitis are:

Laparoscopic appendectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that has a quicker recovery, and causes less pain and scarring than an open appendectomy. Open appendectomy is sometimes performed if the appendix has burst.

Listen to this podcast about appendectomy.

What You Should Expect

You will receive a thorough diagnostic examination to evaluate if you have appendicitis and what course of treatment is needed. Careful monitoring and the involvement of an experienced general surgeon are important to the successful outcome for patients with appendix conditions.

If you are having surgery or a procedure, you will likely be scheduled for a visit to the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation for pre-operative information and tests.

The day of surgery, you will be taken care of in the operating room by surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses with expertise in surgery for patients with appendicitis. After surgery, you will go to the post-surgical care unit where you will receive comprehensive care by an experienced surgical and nursing staff.

Learn more about your hospital stay and returning home.

Multidisciplinary Care

Brigham and Women’s Hospital provides a multidisciplinary approach to patient care by collaborating with colleagues who have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating appendicitis and appendix conditions. In addition, patients have full access to BWH’s world-renowned academic medical community with its diverse specialists and state-of-the-art facilities.

Resources

Go to our health library to learn more about appendicitis.

Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.

Visit the Weiner Center for Preoperative Evaluation.

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