February 03, 2020
If we have not suffered appendicitis, we know someone who has suffered it. It is one of the most common causes of emergency surgeries. Acute appendicitis occurs when the cecal appendix becomes inflamed. The cecal appendix is an extension of the large intestine, which does not have any function after birth. What happens when this condition occurs in children? This week, Dr. José Luis Apaza, Pediatric Surgeon at the Clínica Ricardo Palma, clarifies the most widespread myths about it.
Children do not suffer appendicitis
False. A child may have acute appendicitis due to constipation, a history of respiratory or digestive infection, parasite infection, etc. “Appendicitis should be suspected if abdominal pain appears for more than six hours, the intensity of which increases as time goes by. At first, the pain is usually diffuse, and then it is located on the right side of the lower abdomen. Also, children may have nausea and vomiting, fever, poor general condition, etc.”, says the Specialist.
It is OK if the diagnosis is not quick
False. When the evolution of appendicitis exceeds 24 hours, it can cause generalized peritonitis. “This would complicate the clinical picture and there is a risk of having an infection in the abdominal area. The diagnosis is clinical. It is based on the physical examination and the evolution of the symptoms reported by the parents and the child. Blood tests and imaging tests such as ultrasound are performed”, says Dr. Apaza. A contrast tomography could be used to confirm the diagnosis.
In these cases, only medications can be used
False. “The only treatment is surgery”, says thoroughly Dr. Apaza. He adds that surgery should be done as soon as the diagnosis from the Pediatric Surgeon is obtained. “It can be done by opening the abdominal cavity and surgical treatment of the inflamed appendix. Also, laparoscopy is an option, which is minimally invasive. Recovery can take from three to five days of hospitalization. “Remember that children always recover faster”, he said.
Dr. José Luis Apaza
Pediatric Surgeon at Clínica Ricardo Palma