Burst Appendix & Appendectomy - Medical Negligence Solicitors Compensation


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Burst Appendix and Appendectomy

The appendix is a small finger-like extension off the caecum in the distal small intestines. It can become clogged and inflamed, resulting in a condition called appendicitis. The appendix fills with pus and becomes enlarged. At some point, the appendicitis might be missed by the doctor, resulting in a burst appendix. A burst appendix can be a severe problem with bacteria flooding the abdomen.

Appendicitis causes pain that begins around the middle of the abdomen before shifting to the right lower part of the abdomen. The pain gradually increases over a period of 12-18 hours. It becomes severe just before it bursts and then the pain becomes generalized and increases in severity.

Appendicitis can happen to anyone but it is most common in those between the ages of 10-30.

Signs and symptoms of this condition include aching pain that increases over time in the middle abdomen and eventually the right lower quadrant. The pain of a burst appendix can be all over the abdomen and sharp. Tenderness occurs when you press on the lower right abdomen and then release the pressure. This is called rebound tenderness. Pain tends to be worse with jarring movements, such as walking or coughing. You can have nausea, vomiting and a loss of appetite. There is often constipation and a low grade fever. The individual can’t pass wind and can have abdominal swelling and diarrhoea.

If you or the doctor fails to recognize the fact of appendicitis, it can rupture and cause peritonitis, an infection of the entire intestinal contents. If the appendix has burst, you can get an abdominal abscess, which is a collection of pus in the abdomen. This usually requires surgery to clean up the abscess as well as getting rid of the damaged appendix.

It can be hard to make a diagnosis of appendicitis because the symptoms, including the pain, can vary over time. The pain can be similar to that of appendicitis but can be from some other problem than appendicitis. The doctor needs to take a careful history of the person’s pain and related symptoms. He also needs to do an examination of the patient to see how closely the signs are indicative of appendicitis.

The diagnosis depends on the physical examination being accurate and done over time. Rebound tenderness is an important finding as is guarding when the appendix is inflamed. Tenderness over McByrnie's point midway between the umbilicus and the right lower quadrant is indicative of appendicitis. Pain and tenderness can be anywhere in the abdomen with a rigid abdomen and a lot of pain is associated with a burst appendix. A blood test can show an elevated white blood cell count and a urinalysis should be normal. Doctors do a urinalysis to make sure the pain isn't from a kidney infection or kidney stone. An ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen can show abscesses in a ruptured appendix or the inflammation and increased size of the appendix.

Treatment of appendicitis is usually an appendectomy. An appendectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the inflamed appendix. When the appendix is burst, the surgery is more intense, with removal of abscesses and cleaning out the abdominal cavity of bacteria that have been released into the abdominal cavity.

An appendectomy can be an open surgery with a larger incision, about 2-4 inches along. The appendectomy can be done using a laparoscope, with a couple of small incisions. The laparoscopic surgery involves a quicker recovery time and a good outcome; an open surgery may be necessary to clean up things in a burst appendix situation.

In some cases of a burst appendix, an abscess has formed around the appendix. It needs to be treated by putting a drain from the abdomen to the outside with an appendectomy performed several weeks later, when the infection is cleared.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our medical negligence solicitors operate using the no win no fee** scheme and you will not have to fund or finance your burst appendix compensation claim in any respect. In the event that the burst appendix claim is successful the other side will pay our legal charges and if we are not successful you pay nothing at all. You have nothing to lose in taking up our offer of free advice and there is no further obligation should you decide not to pursue a claim further. Our lawyers offer a true professional risk free service and you will only ever deal with a qualified, specialist medical negligence solicitor who answers to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Do yourself justice and call our offices today.


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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here