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Wellington Children's Hospital

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Appendicitis is a common cause of abdominal pain in children. Patients with suspected appendicitis are usually seen by their General Practitioner or by the Emergency Department and then referred to the Paediatric Surgical service.
The diagnosis is usually made from the history and examination of the patient but if the diagnosis is uncertain a patient will often be admitted to hospital for observation so that they can be re-examined over the next day or so. Other tests such as ultrasounds are sometimes performed.
If the diagnosis of appendicitis is made, a patient is taken to theatre for an appendicectomy which can be done by an open or laparoscopic technique (depending on the patient and the surgeon involved). In an open appendicectomy a small cut is made in the right lower quadrant of the abdomen through which the abdomen is entered and the appendix is removed. In a laparoscopic appendicectomy, a series of smaller cuts are made to enable a telescope and instruments to be put into the abdominal cavity to visualise and remove the appendix.
If the appendix is not perforated the usual hospital stay is 1-2 days however, if the appendix is perforated, then the stay is at least 3-5 days to enable a course of antibiotics to treat the abdominal infection.

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This page was last updated at 1:15PM on October 2, 2017.