What is appendicitis?

The appendix is a tube-shaped piece of tissue attached to the large intestine in the right lower abdomen. Appendicitis (PDF) happens when the appendix gets inflamed and infected. Appendicitis will cause symptoms in your child such as belly pain, a loss of appetite and nausea. Appendicitis is most common in young children, but can happen at any age.

What causes appendicitis?

No one is certain what causes appendicitis but some evidence suggests it is caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the appendix, causing it to become inflamed and infected. This blockage could be dried mucus, parasites, part of a stool, or a foreign body.

How is appendicitis treated?

The surgery used to treat appendicitis is called an appendectomy.

In all cases, it is best for your child if appendicitis is identified and treated urgently. If your child has the symptoms of appendicitis, seek medical care right away. If untreated, the appendix can burst and infect other tissues in the abdomen.

About appendectomies at Children's

Appendectomy is one of the most common surgeries performed at Children's. The general surgery team, which performs appendectomies, provide next-generation care to neonatal infants, newborns, children, and adolescents from throughout the Upper Midwest. Appendectomies are performed at Children's - Minneapolis and Children's - St. Paul.

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