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A general surgeon is trained to perform a wide variety of procedures. One of the most common surgical procedures performed in the country is an appendectomy or the removal of an appendix. While this is a common surgical procedure, it can be complex. Furthermore, some people don’t realize initial signs and symptoms of appendicitis. When this happens, patients can present with an abscess or perforation of the appendix. A perforated appendix can leak feculent material within the abdomen.When this happens patients can become extremely ill. It is important for patients to understand the signs and symptoms of appendicitis so they can seek treatment early.

The most common symptom patients present with is pain. However, many patients will notice a decrease in appetite prior to experiencing pain. Patients may also notice nausea, vomiting, fever, and even diarrhea. This pain classically starts around the umbilicus or bellybutton. It will then move to the right lower quadrant. The pain will start at umbilicus because the visceral nervous system has a difficult time pin pointing the exact site of pain. Once the somatic nerves of the abdomen are irritated by the inflamed appendix, the pain is perceived to be in the right lower quadrant by the brain.

The appendix is an out-pouched extension of the cecum, the first part of the colon. Sometimes, stool can become lodged in the opening of the appendix. When this happens the appendix will swell with mucus and debris. This can block the venous return of the appendix, which can cause increased swelling, pain, and eventually necrosis.

The diagnosis of appendicitis is ideally based on a patient’s symptoms and physical exam. Although, many patients receive imaging to confirm the diagnosis. General surgeons are called to manage appendicitis. In most places, an appendectomy is still standard of care. However, data suggests that intravenous antibiotics alone may be appropriate in some patients with early appendicitis. Usually, an appendectomy can be performed laparoscopically. Laparoscopic procedures use smaller incisions and patients have shorter recovery times. The appendix is located and the mesenteric vessels are divided with a stapler. The process is repeated at the base of the appendix and it is removed from the abdomen. The stapler will simultaneously seal and cut the tissue. Depending on the extent of infection, the patient may require several days of antibiotic treatment as well.

When patients require an appendectomy, they should find an experienced board-certified general surgeon who understands the dangers of a perforated appendix. A board-certified general surgeon has had to pass a challenging set of written and oral board exams to earn this certification after completing a challenging residency program. Dr. Jenna Kazil is a consummate surgical specialist working as a general and vascular surgeon seeing patients from Desoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties. Dr. Kazil is a gifted double board-certified general and vascular surgeon who evaluates patients at the Florida Surgical Clinic and various hospitals in the Manatee County area. Over the years, Dr. Kazil has performed numerous appendectomies and has wherewithal and experience necessary to successfully complete this challenging procedure. Call the Florida Surgical Clinic today to schedule an appointment with Jenna Kazil, MD, FACS, RPVI.