Appendicitis animation 

Appendicitis is a swelling of the appendix, which causes pain in the abdomen. Watch this animation to learn about what causes appendicitis and how it's treated.

Find out the symptoms of appendicitis

Transcript of Appendicitis animation

Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix.

It can happen at any age, although it is more frequent in children than adults.

Appendix removal is the most common surgical emergency in the UK.

The appendix is a narrow pouch

around 5-10cm long,

connected to the beginning

of the large intestine: colon,

in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen.

Its exact function is not known.

The precise cause of appendicitis is not clear,

although it is thought to happen when something,

usually a small, hard piece of faeces,

blocks the entrance of the pouch.

Bacteria from the gut start to multiply in the appendix,

causing it to fill up with pus and swell.

Appendicitis starts with a pain in the middle of your stomach

that may come and go.

Within hours the pain travels to the lower right-hand side,

where the appendix lies, and becomes constant and severe.

Pressing on this area, coughing or walking, may all make the pain worse.

You may lose your appetite, feel sick

and suffer from constipation or diarrhoea.

Appendicitis is a surgical emergency

and the appendix needs to be removed immediately.

There are two types of surgery for appendicitis:

open surgery, where one cut is made

at the base of the abdomen

and the appendix is removed,

or keyhole surgery,

also known as laparoscopic surgery,

where a number of smaller cuts are made

and the appendix is removed

with the aid of small tools.

If the inflamed appendix is not removed, it can continue to swell...

..and eventually burst, releasing its contents.

This is dangerous as the bacteria can cause an infection

in the lining of the abdomen:

peritonitis...

..and the blood: septicemia.

You can live without an appendix with no related problems,

as it does not have an important function in the body.

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 8 ratings

All ratings

6  ratings
2  ratings
0  ratings
0  ratings
0  ratings

Add your rating

Questions about surgery

It's important to know the details of any operation you're going to have. Find out what you should ask before having surgery

About A&E departments

Find out when it is appropriate to go to A&E and what other services offer urgent care