What does the appendix do?
The appendix function is to produce immunoglobulin, a bacteria destroying protein that helps to fight infections in the body. Its function isn’t essential and other organs in the human body will be in charge of fighting infections when the appendix is removed. That is why, after an appendectomy, patients don’t have an increased risk for infections.
What is appendicitis?
Appendicitis is an inflammation of the cecal appendix. Most of the times, the inflammation occurs due to an obstruction caused by the retention of substances like feces, blood stagnation and other substances that circulate inside the organ. Because these substances are rich in bacteria, as they proliferate they create an inflammation.
Appendicitis can be chronic or acute.
Acute appendicitis is the most common and affects many people all over the world. Both types of appendicitis represent an inflammation of the appendix, the difference lies in the way of how the symptoms evolve. The symptoms of a chronic appendicitis can last for years, evolving slowly and usually analgesic medication is used to control the inflammation. The persistence of a chronic pain – lasting more than a month - in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen and no other symptoms of acute appendicitis, is an indicator for a chronic appendicitis. The main difference is that in the case of acute appendicitis, an emergency surgery is performed and in the case of chronic appendicitis, the surgical procedure to remove the appendix is scheduled.
There is a third type of appendicitis, the recurrent. A recurrent appendicitis is very similar to the chronic one, although the manifestation of its symptoms is less frequent. As it causes recurrent pain, the most effective treatment is to remove the appendix in a scheduled surgical procedure.
Both Hospital Lusiadas Lisboa and Hospital Lusiadas Porto are two of the most modern private hospitals in Portugal, with international accreditation by Joint Commission International, and their clinical body is experienced in General Surgery. We make sure the best health professionals of this specialty perform your treatment, from the most complete medical care and the most appropriate facilities. These facts will contribute for successful results.
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Treatment for acute and chronic appendicitis
Acute appendicitis requires, most of the times, an emergency surgical procedure, if you feel you have acute appendicitis symptoms you should go immediately to the hospital.
In the case you were previously diagnosed (or you think you may suffer from) chronic appendicitis or recurrent appendicitis and would like to treat it by removing the appendix Medical Port can help you. If you decide to do this scheduled surgical procedure in Portugal we can help you by arranging all the bookings for your surgery and treatment in top private hospitals in Portugal.
This surgery can be performed under several types of anesthesia: general, local or regional.
The most common type of anesthesia chosen is general, especially in the case of pediatric surgeries. Even for laparoscopic surgery, general anesthesia is preferred.
Local anesthesia is less frequent; it is equally safe and comprises lower costs. The three types of anesthesia are considered both for laparoscopic or open procedure.
Both ways to perform this surgery have advantages and disadvantages.
The open surgical procedure of removing an appendix has minimal risks and, the hospital stay is short, and there is a low rate for complications that might occur.
The laparoscopic procedure is considered safe and effective for the treatment of appendicitis without complications and is a good alternative for the open procedure. When the procedure is performed by laparoscopy, the surgery is more expensive and takes longer to perform, but in the other hand, there is less pain and the time the patient stays in the hospital is shorter. In terms of scar appearance, through laparoscopic way, the scars are smaller. The laparoscopic approach is preferable in the following groups: women in fertile age, elderly people, children, and obese people.
After the surgery the patient should stay in the hospital with medication for pain control.
If no complications occur, the patient will de discharged from the hospital 1 day after the surgery and might return to his or hers normal activities, although with special care, as recommended by the surgeon.
After the surgery and the recovery time, patients resume their lifestyle without any restrictions (dietary or in terms of exercise).
The symptoms for chronic appendicitis are related to a scattered pain that can be intense in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen that can last for months or even years. Because no symptoms besides abdominal pain are present, it is frequently difficult to diagnose chronic appendicitis and the diagnosed can only be confirmed through blood testes or an endoscopy.
This type of appendicitis is most common in individuals older than 40 years old.
The most characteristic symptoms of acute appendicitis are: intense pain in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen, nausea, vomit and loss of appetite along with light fever. Although, only about 50% of the patients exhibit these clear symptoms. It is sometimes hard to diagnose acute appendicitis when only one of the symptoms is exhibited.
The pain may start quickly in the upper part of abdomen or around the bellybutton; then, nausea and vomiting appear. A few hours later, nausea tends to disappear and the pain concentrates on the lower right quadrant of the abdomen. When the physician presses this area, the patient feels pain and when the pressure is off, the pain tends to get acute (meaning this is a positive sign of decompression).
Doctors who perform this medical procedure
Coordinator of the General Surgery Unit
With a degree in Medicine by Faculdade de Medicina of Universidade de Lisboa since 1985, Dr. Nuno Abecassis is a Specialist in General Surgery since 1994. His work experience in surgeries for cancer treatment and research in the area of General Surgery has been developed both in Portugal and the United States.
Coordinator of the Obesity Treatment Center
Dr. Ângelo Ferreira has a degree in Medicine from Faculdade de Medicina of Coimbra Univeristy and is a General Surgeon of Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa. Dr. Ângelo Ferreira has an extensive experience in the field of General Surgery and Obesity Surgery.
He performs obesity surgery, gastroesophageal reflux surgery (GERD), minimally invasive surgery, and upper GI surgery.