When the appendix becomes inflamed and infected, doctors perform an appendectomy to prevent a rupture and systemic infection. As a Pediatric Surgeon at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, Dr. Gustavo Stringel frequently performs this type of surgery in children.

An untreated appendix can rupture quite quickly, which can be fatal. Dr. Gustavo Stringel cautions that appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical care. Parents should be alert for early signs of appendicitis in their children, including sharp pain around the belly button or in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen. Vomiting, dry heaves, loss of appetite, fever, and frequent painful urination may also be present.

Once doctors diagnose appendicitis, they move quickly. The child will be admitted to the hospital, and his or her physician will remove the appendix using a laparoscope or by open incision. The child will likely remain in the hospital for one to three days following the surgery, although laparoscopic removal often results in quicker recovery time than open surgery.