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Appendicitis pain is in the lower right area of the abdomen

Appendicitis is inflammation (swelling) and infection of the appendix, a finger-shaped pouch attached to where the large intestine begins. It is located in the lower right side portion of the abdomen. The appendix produces mucus that empties into the large intestine. When its lumen (wall opening) is blocked (by a foreign body or a growth), it causes bacteria to grow, which causes infection, swelling and then increased pressure.

If left untreated, the appendix can rupture and leak infection into the abdomen, causing life-threatening peritonitis (infection of the abdominal cavity), pus-filled pockets of infection in surrounding organs (abscess) and sepsis (spread of infection to the bloodstream).

Appendicitis is a medical emergency. An infected appendix can burst less than 24 hours after symptoms begin. Symptoms include pain from the navel to the lower right of the abdomen (pain that gets worse with movement or coughing and sneezing), nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea and fever.

Usually there is rebound tenderness elicited when the doctor presses the abdomen and pain is felt when pressure is released. A Rovsing's sign is positive if pain is felt on the lower right side of the abdomen upon release of pressure on the left side. Presence of abdominal pain when resisting the right knee as the patient lifts the right thigh while lying down is also indicative of a psoas sign. Another test is obturator sign, where moving the bent (right) knee from left to right while lying down causes similar pain.

Appendectomy is often recommended even without prior extensive diagnostic testing. If the appendix is found to be normal, the doctor will remove it anyway to prevent development of appendicitis. The appendix has no known function and removing it does not affect a person's health. Removal may be through a laparotomy, a single open incision in the lower right abdomen, or through the newer laparoscopy, using only 0.5-1 cm incisions to remove the appendix.

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Capital Surgeons Group is a group surgical practice specializing in bariatric surgery, breast surgery, colorectal surgery, laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery at the following locations:

Central Austin

3705 Medical Parkway, Suite 250 and 210
Austin, TX 78705
Appointments: 512.302.1210
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

North Austin/Round Rock

505 W. Louis Henna Blvd., Suite 220
Austin, TX 78728
Appointments: 512.498.4860
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

South Austin

5625 Eiger Road, Suite 230
Austin, TX 78735
Appointments: 512.441.7755
Office Hours: M-F, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm