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Home > Health Topics > General Abdominal > Conditions > Appendicitis
Your appendix is a narrow tube-shaped structure attached to your large intestine. Considered to be a non-vital organ in humans, you can live a normal, healthy life without it. However, if your appendix gets infected or inflamed (a condition called appendicitis), it becomes a dangerous condition. An inflamed appendix can break open or leak, causing a serious infection in your abdomen. And if it's not properly treated, it can become very serious.
Most often, the surgical removal of the appendix is recommended, usually within one to three days after you develop symptoms. The removal of the appendix (appendectomy) is a very common procedure – more than 473,000 were performed in 2009 alone.21
As is true with any surgery, you should know about the different options available for how the procedure can be performed. For example, there is an “open” traditional method (which requires a large incision), as well as a minimally invasive approach (with smaller incisions), which may positively impact your recovery, reducing scarring and pain as well as lower your risk of complications.
Click here to learn more about minimally invasive appendectomy.
The doctor who diagnoses you with appendicitis will likely recommend that you have your appendix removed immediately (one to three days). If your appendix ruptures, it can have serious health consequences.
It is important to know your options for the surgery. Consult and discuss all of your surgical options with your surgeon. These questions can be a guide to help you talk to your doctor and gather the information you need:
Once you've been referred to a surgeon, it's important to continue the conversation about your procedure.
Learn more about appendicitis and possible treatment options with these resources.
American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded to improve the quality of care for the patient by setting high standards for surgical education and practice.
Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES)
SAGES represents a worldwide community of surgeons that can bring minimal access surgery, endoscopy, and emerging techniques to patients in every country.
National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse
(NDDIC) is an information dissemination service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Medline Plus – Health Information from the National Library of Medicine
Medline Plus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and many other sources on over 650 diseases and conditions.
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
The American Academy of Family Physicians is one of the largest national medical organizations, representing more than 94,000 family physicians, family medicine residents, and medical students nationwide. The mission of the AAFP is to improve the health of patients, families, and communities by serving the needs of members with professionalism and creativity.
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