Children's Hospital Colorado

Appendicitis

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What is appendicitis?

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix. Sometimes, the appendix will rupture (perforation or bursting) or blood supply to the appendix may be interrupted (gangrene). The best treatment option for a non-perforated appendicitis is removal, which is called an appendectomy.

What causes appendicitis?

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix is blocked, which leads to swelling and interferes with blood flow. Inadequate blood flow then permits bacterial invasion and inflammation, which can ultimately lead to the rupturing of the appendix.

What is the appendix?

The appendix is a small, closed tube attached to the colon, located in the lower right portion of the abdomen. The purpose of the appendix is unknown, although it serves as a collector of waste that is not digestible. The removal of the appendix has no effect on digestion.

Who gets appendicitis?

Appendicitis is rare in infants, but can occur in children of almost any age, as well as adults. This condition cannot be prevented, but if caught early, treatment is easier and recovery is quicker.

 

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