Treatments for Appendicitis in Children

Treatments for Appendicitis in Children

Appendicitis is common and can affect anyone of any age. Teenagers and young adults are the most commonly affected. It is slightly more common in men than in women. It is much more common in western countries. This is thought to be partly due to the western diet which is often low in fibre.

Appendicitis in children is actually a common disease. In United States, approximately 80,000 children suffer from appendicitis per year.

How Is Appendicitis Diagnosed in Children?

It can be difficult to tell whether a child suffers from appendicitis, especially on children under 3 years old. There are indeed some possible symptoms of the disease including vomiting, diarrhea (usually lasts for few days), fever, loss of appetite, and pain during urination. Pain in the right side of the belly is as well a sign of appendicitis.

Treatments for Appendicitis in Children
Abdominal pain is usually the first sign of appendicitis in children; this pain lasts for few hours. Normally, the appendix is located in the lower right belly area. However, there is always a possibility that the appendix is located elsewhere in the abdominal area. At times, the pain also affects other muscles or parts of the body.

The abdominal pain is commonly followed by vomiting; in case of appendicitis, the abdominal pain always comes before the vomiting. Fever may occur, but only less than 39 degrees Celsius. If any of those symptoms occur, it is recommended that you take your child to a physician, so thorough examination can be performed.

Treatments for Appendicitis in Children

The best treatment for appendicitis in children is similar to that in adults, which is surgery. Removing the infected appendix is still considered the best method to get rid of the problem.

Minimally invasive or laparoscopic appendectomy is usually performed only when open-surgical procedures are not possible or the diagnosis is unclear. Laparoscopic surgery for appendicitis involves some small tubes (trochars) that are inserted into the body through small incisions. However, if surgeons decide that laparoscopic is not the best method to get rid of the disease, they will immediately convert this minimally invasive surgery into open-surgical procedures.
Treatments for Appendicitis in Children
During the surgery, a pediatric anesthesiologist will give anesthesia to your child to avoid any pain from the incisions and other surgical procedures. Some small incisions are probably necessary to open access to the infected appendix. The overall surgical procedures may only need an hour or less depending on the severity of the disease.

Post Surgery

Your child will need to stay in hospital for 1 to 2 days after the surgery for mild to moderate appendicitis. In case of severe conditions, 5 days to a week of hospital stay is probably necessary. In the hospital, post-surgical treatments are provided such as antibiotics and pain medications. The dietary will change dramatically, but your child may return to regular diet gradually.

After leaving the hospital, your child will still need time to get back to normal school or exercising activities. Usually, outpatient visit will also be scheduled a week after the surgery. The wounds and recovery condition will be examined during the visit.