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Appendicitis

A swelling of the small, thin pouch that connects to the large intestine where faeces is formed

About

It's unclear why we have an appendix, but removing it doesn't harm your body. Appendicitis usually starts as a pain in your abdomen that comes and goes. Within a few hours the pain increases and becomes persistent, travelling to the lower right-hand side of your body. This is where the appendix usually lies.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of appendicitis icon plus

    Symptoms of appendicitis may include:
    • Pain in the middle of your abdomen
    • Feeling nauseous or being sick
    • Loss of appetite
    • Diarrhoea
    • Running a fever (high temperature)
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose as the typical symptoms only appear in about half of cases. The location of the appendix can also vary from person to person.

    Your consultant will speak to you about your symptoms, examine your abdomen and see if the pain gets worse when they apply pressure to the appendix area.

    If further tests are required these may include:
    • A blood test, for signs of infection
    • A pregnancy test in females
    • A urine test, to rule out a bladder infection
    • An ultrasound scan, to check for swelling
    • A CT scan
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    If you have appendicitis your appendix will normally need to be removed as soon as possible. This requires a surgical procedure called an appendectomy.

    There are two ways of performing the surgery:
    • Keyhole surgery. This tends to be the preferred method as the recovery time is quicker. It involves making three of four small incisions in your abdomen. Special instruments and a tube with a small camera on the end are inserted to perform the removal.
    • Open surgery. In some instance open surgery may be required. This involves making a single large cut in the lower right-hand side of your abdomen to remove your appendix.
Consultant with patient

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We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • facility-HSC-flag-hero-582x582

    The Harley Street Clinic

    35 Weymouth Street

    London

    W1G 8BJ

    Appointments 020 7034 8181
    Enquiries 020 3131 7962

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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