An appendix is an organ in the body at the beginning of the colon. It produces a protein which helps your body fight against infections. It is a non-essential organ that, when removed, other body organs take over this function.
Appendicitis is the technical term used when it becomes infected. Occasionally, when left untreated, the appendix may rupture causing severe illness and even death.
Diagnosis is determined by a physical exam given by your doctor. Laboratory evaluation, and in some situations, xray tests may be performed.
Treatment requires the removal of the appendix under general anesthesia. Three small incisions may be made to access the appendix. The surgeon inflates your abdomen with a harmless gas which allows him a clear view of the appendix. The appendix is detached and removed carefully through one of the incision sites.