The human appendix is very well known, in every country of the world. This is because it very frequently makes people sick, or very sick. In this article we are going to discuss the burning question, where is the appendix located?
Esteemed Reader you may be asking yourself about the location of the appendix in the human body for various reasons.
You may be one of the hundreds of millions of people who get an appendix problem. Every year, six percent of the world’s population gets appendicitis, the disease caused by inflammation of the appendix. This makes appendicitis the most frequent reason for people to see Surgical departments in an emergency situation.
But also very likely, it may be a loved one who is having, or has had, appendicitis.
You may also be having pain or other abdominal symptoms that may be due to appendicitis. But you feel unsure because you don’t know where your appendix located.
WHERE IS THE APPENDIX?
We will begin answering this question by explaining what the appendix is.
The appendix is a tubular structure that extends from the caecum. The caecum is a pouch of intestine at the junction of the small and large intestines. The finger-like or worm-like appendix is at the inferior or bottom aspect of the caecum.
The colon or large intestines, is located at the periphery of the tummy or abdomen. It forms a picture frame configuration. The small intestines occupy the centre of the abdomen, being “boxed in” or “framed in” by the large intestines.
The junction of the small and large intestines mentioned above, is in the right lower part of the abdomen. It is below and to the right of the navel or belly button. Technically, this is called the right iliac fossa.
The right iliac fossa can be seen very well in the below diagram.
It is in the right iliac fossa that the caecum and appendix are located. It is in the right iliac fossa that the most reliable symptoms and signs of appendicitis are located.
However, other conditions can cause right iliac fossa symptoms, as will be explained later. And also, the right iliac fossa is not where the early symptoms of appendicitis are typically felt.
WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE APPENDIX?
This is an interesting question – why do humans have appendix? Or rather, why do humans have appendices (plural of appendix)? What does your appendix do, except to cause trouble as outlined above?
From an Evolutionary Biology point of view, the appendix is a remnant of the evolution from ape to human being. It is just rudimentary, having no function at all!
So sometimes, the lumen of the appendix gets blocked, by food, by a small stone, etc. The appendix becomes engorged, inflamed and painful. This is appendicitis.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF APPENDICITIS
So appendicitis is an emergency that needs urgent attention. How do you know if you have appendicitis?
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF APPENDICITIS?
There is only ONE treatment of appendicitis: SURGICAL REMOVAL or APPENDICECTOMY. And this has to be done PROMPTLY. Where possible, the operation is best performed by Surgeon(s) (doctor or doctors who are specially trained to manage diseases and patients by means of operations).
The Doctor will carry out the operation based on clinical suspicion. This is the best and safest approach. No blood test will prove or disprove the clinical diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis.
CAN YOUR APPENDIX BURST?
As explained above, in appendicitis, the appendix is engorged / swollen. It may be full of pus. So sometimes, especially if treatment is delayed, the pressure can reach a critical point. At that point, the appendix wall, which would be diseased, gives in and bursts.
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