Symptoms Of Abscess In The Appendix: Diagnosis And Treatment

The appendix is a very tiny pouch which protrudes from the colon on the lower right side of the abdominal cavity. It is rather prone to inflammation and swelling; thus triggering appendicitis. As the inflammation aggravates, the pain associated with appendicitis characteristically increases and in due course gets severe.

A very common complication of appendicitis is the development of an abscess.

An abscess is a pocket of pus / infection which forms within the appendix. In case the appendix ruptures, you can develop abscess. In most cases, a surgeon will drain the abscess by inserting a tube through the abdominal wall in to the abscess. The tube is then left in place for about two weeks, and you will be given antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Once the infection has been managed well, you will have to undergo surgery to excise the appendix. Sometimes, the abscess is drained, and the appendix is excised immediately.

Common manifestations are:

  • Sudden pain on the right side of the lower abdomen.
  • The pain aggravates when you cough, walk or make sudden jerky movements.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Fever

Causes Of Appendix Abscess

When the lining of the appendix gets blocked for some reason, infection sets in; this in turn causes an inflammation of the organ.

The bacteria proliferate speedily, making the appendix swell and get filled with pus. This is how the abscess is formed within the appendix. Neglected and not treated promptly, the appendix can rupture causing extreme complications.

Diagnosis And Treatment For Appendix Abscess

Your doctor will carry out certain tests and investigations to understand the precise cause and determine the optimal line of treatment. A high white blood cell count indicates an infection. Your doctor may order a urine test as well to make certain that urinary tract infection or kidney calculus is not the cause of the abdominal pain. X-ray, ultrasound or a computerized tomography scan of the abdomen needs to be done to help confirm appendicitis and abscess formation.

The treatment usually comprises of surgery to get rid of the inflamed appendix and the abscess. Before the surgical intervention you will be administered a dose of antibiotics.

Your doctor will perform an appendectomy using one abdominal incision, i.e. an open surgery or the surgeon may employ a few tiny abdominal incisions; i.e. laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgery helps you to recover quicker and heal with less pain and scarring compared to the open abdomen type. It is recommended for people who are old or obese.

On the other hand, laparoscopic surgery is not advised for everyone. In severe cases of an abscess of the appendix, you will require an open appendectomy, which allows the surgeon to clean the abdominal cavity thoroughly. You will have to spend 1 to 2 days in the hospital after your surgery.

In case the appendix has ruptured and an abscess has formed around the organ, the abscess must be drained by inserting a tube in. The surgery may then be carried out a couple of weeks thereafter, after the infection has been controlled, based upon the doctors discretion.