Appendicitis, although relatively common, remains difficult to definitively diagnose with certainty. As it can be life-threatening if perforation occurs, any surgery performed in the area of the appendix, usually results in automatic removal to prevent later problems or another surgery related to the appendix.
Generally, the first indication of appendictis is a dull discomfort in the umbilical area. Over several hours, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting may occur. The pain intensifies as the inflammation in the appendix increases and the discomfort moves and becomes localized in the right lower quadrant of the abdominal region (at McBurney's point). The abdominal region becomes rigid with increasing localized tenderness with touch and upon rebound. Later signs and symptoms include constipation or diarrhea, fever and rapid, racing pulse that can lead to shock (tachycardia). At this point it is imperative that the patient receive immediate emergency evaluation for appendicitis, as rupture at this point is likely. Perforation, if not attended to surgically, will result in the infection of surrounding abdominal tissues with the possibility of sepsis and death. The earlier the diagnosis and intervention with appendicitis, the better the outcome.