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What side is your appendix on?

What is appendix?

It is a tiny tubular appendage that resembles the shape of the worm. It is attached to the cecum section of the colon.

The anatomical name for appendix is vermiform. The appendix has an inner lining that produces a small amount of mucus, which flows through the open central core of the appendix.

The appendix’s wall consists of lymphatic tissue, which is a significant part of the immune system. If the appendix becomes blocked, the bad bacteria will invade and infect the appendix’s wall leading to a condition called appendicitis. (1, 2, 3)

What side is your appendix on image picture photo


Photo 1: The anatomical presentation of the appendix location.
Image Source: images.onhealth.com

An image showing an inflamed appendix (appendicitis) location photo picture

Picture 2: An image showing an inflamed appendix (appendicitis).
Photo Source: www.medifee.com

A comparison image between a normal and inflamed appendix location photo picture

Image 3: A comparison image between a normal and inflamed appendix.
Picture Source: media.licdn.com

A surgical removal of the appendix (appendectomy) location photo picture

Photo 4: A surgical removal of the appendix (appendectomy).
Image Source: c8.alamy.comA comparison image between minimally invasive removal of the appendix and open appendectomy location photo picture

Image 5: A comparison image between minimally invasive removal of the appendix and open appendectomy.
Photo Source: slideplayer.com

What side of the human body is the appendix on?

The appendix is located on the lower right side of the abdomen. It is the area where the small and large intestines meet. The location of the appendix is called McBurney’s point, which is about 2/3 away from the navel to the hip bone.

That is why one of the cardinal signs of appendicitis is lower right quadrant pain. Appendicitis is an extremely serious condition that warrants immediate medical intervention. If the appendix is severely inflamed, it can rupture causing intense pain on the right side of the abdomen. If not treated right away could lead to a life-threatening condition. (2, 3, 4, 5)

Clinical manifestations

  • appendix pain symptoms is usually on the right lower quadrant of the abdomen
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever (low grade) and chills (6)
  • Initially, the appendix pain comes and goes in the middle section of the abdomen. After several hours, the pain gets severe and spreads to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen.
  • The pain gets worst if you move your limbs. Sometimes, even sneezing and coughing can cause pain.
  • Loss of appetite (6)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Excess gas and a feeling of bloating
  • Abdominal swelling
  • The pain is described as dull or sharp effecting not only the abdomen but the back and rectum too. (4)

Are there other health conditions causing right lower quadrant pain?

Right lower quadrant pain is not always linked with appendicitis. There are other related conditions such as:

  • Kidney stones
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Ovulation pain
  • Inflammation of the intestines
  • Rebound tenderness (pain is felt when the lower right part of the abdomen is pushed and the pressure is released) (5, 6, 8, 9)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Right-sided diverticulitis
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

Appendix pain location

The exact location of pain is difficult to pinpoint, especially on the early onset of pain. The patient usually locate the pain in a circular motion around the center portion of the abdomen. As time passes by, the pain is localized in the right lower abdominal area, which makes it easier for the patient to locate the exact location of the pain.

The pain is dull in the navel area and becomes sharp as it moves to the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. (1, 2, 9)

Appendicitis Causes

A blockage in the appendix causes appendicitis. The blockage could be due to stool, presence of a foreign body, or cancer. The appendix can also swell during inflammatory response. (4, 6)

Appendicitis Test

There are various tests and procedures done to confirm the diagnosis of appendicitis. They are the following:

  • Physical examination – The patient’s abdominal area is checked to assess any changes that are indicator of appendicitis.
  • CT scan – A detailed image of the appendix is seen through the CT scan. You can see if the appendix is inflamed or if it has already ruptured.
  • CBC – The components of the blood is checked. An increased in white blood cells is a sign of infection.
  • Ultrasound – Sound waves are used to check for the presence of appendicitis.
  • Other diagnostic procedures – When deemed necessary, the doctor will order other special procedures such as PET scan and MRI. (5, 7, 9, 10)

Appendicitis treatment

There are various treatment modalities for appendicitis. To address any potential infection, the doctor will put the patient on antibiotics. However, antibiotics alone cannot effectively treat the underlying condition.

The typical approach for appendicitis is surgery. Appendicitis surgery is called appendectomy. It is the surgical removal of the appendix. If there is an existing tumor, there might be a need to remove a part of the colon.

The surgery is usually done through laparoscopy or keyhole surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure. The surgeon inserts a thin tube that has a video camera and light into the abdomen. It helps the surgeon accurately view the inside structure of the abdomen. Through a monitor, the doctor can magnify the image.

A tiny instrument responds to the hand movement of the surgeon, which will facilitate the removal of the appendix. This procedure can be very costly, but has minimal blood loss because only a small incision is made. There is less scarring and the patient can fully recover in just a short period of time.

For patients who can’t afford a minimally invasive procedure, the traditional open surgery is the best option. The surgeon will create a large incision to view the inside structure of the abdomen. This is typically the surgery of choice is the appendix is already ruptured or infected, has abscess, the patient has had abdominal surgeries before, and if the patient is in her third trimester of pregnancy. (1, 3, 5, 8, 10)

Recovery period

Twelve hours post-surgery, the patient can already get up and move around. After a week, the patient is discharged from the hospital and can go back to the usual activities of daily living. If the less invasive surgery is performed such as the keyhole technique, the recovery period is pretty fast. (3, 6, 7)

Can you prevent appendicitis?

There is no prevention for appendicitis. Studies showed that people who consume a high fiber diet such as fruits and vegetables are less susceptible to appendicitis. (2, 4, 7, 8)

Appendicitis Myths

  • The appendix has no use – The truth is that the appendix helps maintain a balance of good bacteria in the body.
  • Running or jumping after meal can cause appendicitis – The truth is that appendicitis is caused by a blockage in the appendix.
  • Eating small seedy vegetables/fruits can cause appendicitis – It is highly unlikely that small seeds can cause blockage in the appendix. (4, 8, 10)

References:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-appendicitis
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/appendicitis/article.htm
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/appendicitis/symptoms/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158806.php
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/appendicitis
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appendicitis
  7. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/appendicitis/article_em.htm
  8. http://m.kidshealth.org/en/parents/appendicitis.html
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/appendicitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369543
  10. https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/appendicitis_appendectomy

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