With Appendectomy, It’s Best Not to Wait

Appendicitis is one condition that comes on quickly and requires quick treatment. It develops when the appendix becomes swollen and inflamed, leading to sharp pain in the abdomen. When you develop symptoms and your doctor diagnoses appendicitis, it is important that a general surgeon become involved in your care as soon as possible as you could require an appendectomy very soon.

Symptoms of appendicitis include:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Low fever
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

The only way to treat appendicitis is by removing the appendix. Appendix removal, or appendectomy, is generally decided on quickly—especially if the appendix hasn’t ruptured. Once the appendix ruptures you become more likely to experience complications like abscess development in the abdomen.

General surgeons have long known to act quickly in the treatment of appendicitis, but now this is being echoed even louder as new research suggests just how imperative it is to treat appendicitis as quickly as possible.

Delaying an appendectomy by just a few hours can increase your risk of developing complications, including your risk for experiencing a surgical site infection or SSI. This is true among patients who are seeking treatment for “non-perforated” appendicitis, meaning the appendix has not yet burst.

This statistic was found by researchers from the University of Southern California who evaluated the medical history of more than 4,000 appendicitis patients of all ages and medical backgrounds. The researchers found that delaying appendectomy by only six hours was associated with an increased risk of post-surgical complications.

So, what can you do to ensure that you are at as reduced a risk as possible for surgical complications associated with appendix removal?

Ensure a general surgeon is contacted as early as possible after a diagnosis of appendicitis is made. Because the symptoms of appendicitis mimic several other abdominal problems, reporting symptoms and early diagnosis are critical. While appendicitis symptoms are not always associated with the need for appendix removal, the manifestation of them severely and quickly enough is usually a sure sign of the appendix swelling. The sooner you contact your general surgeon the sooner you will know if you will need surgery, and the sooner your appendix can get taken care of.