This is the removal of the appendix, which is a small organ attached to the large intestine. It can become inflamed or swollen, causing pain and signaling the need to have it removed. The appendix can also develop a small hole. This is known as a perforation. When the appendix perforates, it begins to leak into the abdomen and can cause a major, possibly fatal infection unless it is removed.

Signs you may need an appendectomy

Pain caused by an inflamed appendix (appendicitis) or perforated appendix (perforated appendicitis) is most commonly described as starting right around the belly button and then moving down to the lower right abdomen and increasing in intensity. It can also be accompanied by diarrhea or constipation, nausea, vomiting, a low fever and a loss of appetite. Patients experiencing these symptoms should seek medical help right away.

The surgery

If the surgeon determines you need an appendectomy, you’ll receive general anesthesia and the appendix will be removed through a small incision in your abdomen. Often, appendectomies can be performed laparoscopically, reducing the size of the scar.