The appendix is a small organ about the size of a finger that hangs down from the lower right of the large intestine. It is thought to be a vestigial organ, meaning that it is a sort of evolutionary “holdover”. In other large vertebrates that eat a plant-based diet, it is a much larger organ that helps to digest large amounts of plant matter. In adult humans it doesn’t seem to serve any purpose at all.
What would cause an appendix to need to be removed?
Even though the appendix doesn’t seem to do anything in humans – it is still very capable of getting infected, inflamed or otherwise diseased. Appendicitis is a sudden and very painful inflammation of the appendix. It can happen as a result of a viral infection or by a blockage of the opening of the appendix into the intestine. Inflammation can eventually lead to a rupture of the appendix, which can be very dangerous – even fatal. In these cases, appendix removal is most necessary.
What happens during the appendix removal?
Dr. Shakov usually removes them laparoscopically at the hospital – which means it is done through small incisions with the assistance of a camera. In very rare cases, Dr. Shakov will need to switch to an “open” surgical method where a larger incision is needed. Dr. Shakov always does everything possible to avoid an open surgery, but the patient’s safety takes precedence over any cosmetic issues around scarring and he will change methods if he deems it medically necessary.
Dr. Shakov performs these surgeries at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold NJ, Community Medical Center in Toms River NJ, and Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood, NJ.