The appendix is a small tubular structure about the length of a finger and is attached to the colon. The function of the appendix has been historically unclear, although some research suggests it may have a small role in how hour body fights infection. The most common disease of the appendix is appendicitis, which occurs in 7% of people during their life. Most often the appendix becomes blocked by a ball of stool call a “Fecalith” which causes the appendix to be obstructed, swollen and painful. Sometimes the appendix can be blocked by a tumor that grows in the appendix.
Surgery for removal of the appendix is usually a minimally invasive procedure; however, an open procedure may be necessary for advanced complicated infection or tumor. Research is ongoing for the use of antibiotics as the treatment of early appendicitis, however return of appendicitis has been common after antibiotic treatment alone and is not currently considered the standard treatment.