Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What happens to the rest of your body when your appendix is removed?"
My little bro had his appendix out a couple of weeks ago. What does this do to the rest of your body once it is removed? Do you really need it? I'm kind of concerned he'll have health problems because he's only 10.
The appendix is a vestige of creation. In short, you do not need to have it. There are many people walking around without their appendices who have no problems. The appendix may have played a role in storage of colonic bacteria or digestion in our ancient ancestors. It is one of many areas in your intestine to have a high concentration of immune cells called GALT. But situated where it is with a small lumen and single blood supply, it is very prone to having its lumen blocked by food particles. When this situation occurs, the trapped bacteria grow and cause swelling of this blind end lumen. The edema from inflammation and infection causes the blood supply to get cut off and the appendix to die. In this process of lumen blockage and infection, it is typically to have a lot of pain initially around the belly button. But as the infection proceed, the pain is localized over the right lower quadrant (right over the appendix). Without removing it, you can get very sick. Needless to say, having an operation leads to the quickest recovery. The alternative is to use antibiotics, which often is not enough to control the infectious process and the appendix will breakdown and causes an abscess leading to prolonged abdominal pain and antibiotic use. Therefore, unless you are extremely sick and unable to tolerate an operation surgery, it is always recommended for appendicitis. I would recommend a consultation with a primary care physician or local surgeon for more information.
Need more info?See a doctor today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.