Monday, October 8, 2007

Appendectomy and tonsillectomy, very common in the past

When I was a child, it seemed as if everyone was having at least one of the surgeries, if not both. Both, the appendix and the tonsils were seen as superfluous, not necessary, so if they were causing problems, just “take ‘em out.” Now, however, we're learning that the appendix may not be so useless after all: Scientists figure out what the appendix is doing.

Of course, we don’t really always know what is going on in the body and what different parts of the body are for. Tonsils, for example, are now known to be the first defence against infection. According to EHealth.MD, in early childhood, the tonsils and adenoids help make antibodies against infection. Of course, if they become infected on a regular basis, they should be removed if the doctors feel that this is the best course of action.

With an appendix, if infection or inflammation occurs, removal is more urgent. If someone has appendicitis and it is left untreated, it can be fatal.

The symptoms of appendicitis include:
- Pain in the abdomen, starting in the middle and then moving to the right
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fever

If the appendix becomes so inflamed (swollen), it can burst, causing an infection in the abdomen, called peritonitis. This is life-threatening.

When someone is diagnosed with appendicitis, surgery is generally the treatment. Historically done by an incision a few inches long, it can now be done with a laparoscope in most uncomplicated cases, leaving just a small scar after healing.

If the surgeons suspect that the appendix may burst, or if it has already, the traditional larger incision is usually needed.

Recovery after an appendectomy, without bursting, is usually straight forward. The most important issue is dealing with the after-surgery pain and making sure that the bowels begin to move properly. If the appendix did burst, then antibiotics are usually ordered to be sure that an infection doesn’t set in.

I think my husband and I are very unusual for our generation. Both of us have our appendix, our tonsils, and our wisdom teeth!

News for Today:

New Diabetes Tool Available On American Diabetes Association Web Site
Aclasta Receives European Approval As First Once Yearly Treatment For Postmenopausal Osteoporosis
Differences observed between black and white women in use of breast cancer therapy
Limiting refined carbohydrates may stall AMD progression
New Prescription Allergy Treatment XYZAL® (levocetirizine Dihydrochloride) Now Available For Fall Allergy Season In The USA
Nutrition labels lead to calcium confusion, underconsumption: study
Scientists figure out what the appendix is doing
Paramedics can provide an effective alternative to standard ambulance service in the community
No strong evidence linking amateur boxing with long-term brain injury
Warm weather prolongs West Nile threat


Anonymous said...

See? I can still learn something new every day, even though I'm old! LOL!

That was a very interesting read on the possible function of the appendix, and it was fascinating to learn we can live without one so easily because of the dense populations now and exposure to germs.

Good job, Marijke!

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

Hey DeVon! Welcome to my blog. :-)
Nice to see you here. Don't be a stranger.