The first report of an appendectomy came in 1735 from a surgeon in the English army who performed the operation without anesthesia. Today, one out of every 2,000 people has an appendectomy, almost always with pain medication.
Although appendicitis is one of the more frequent surgical emergencies, there is no specific test to diagnose it with absolute certainty. Symptoms typically include abdominal pain. During early stages, the pain can be difficult to pinpoint, as inflammations of the small intestine and colon are not often localized, but other symptoms may include loss of appetite, fever, and/or nausea.
Because many conditions exhibit similar symptoms (such as kidney disease, pancreatitis, right sided diverticulitis, and pelvic inflammatory disease), hospital staff must rely upon their expertise to examine the results of diagnostic tests while observing the patient and deciding whether to fight the inflammation with antibiotics or recommend surgery for verification and/or treatment.
Along with a physical and complete patient history, a doctor may order several diagnostic tests if appendicitis is suspected. These include a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and if necessary, radiology studies such as a CT scan, ultrasound, or an abdominal X-ray. The current standard for treating typical appendicitis is an appendectomy, either open or laparoscopic.
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