Do we need our appendix?

The appendix—a wormlike organ barely 4 inches long—stirs considerable debate among medical professionals. Doctors cannot even decide whether the appendix is of any use to the body.

There is common agreement that removing an appendix will not negatively affect the patient, however, some researchers and physicians believe the appendix serves a function as part of the body's immune system.

Others believe that the appendix is a vestigial organ, which remains from the days when humans dined on tree bark and needed the organ to break it down.

You do not need your appendix. It is thought to help with your body's immune system by recognizing bacteria in the intestine to prevent infection, but other parts of the body can perform these jobs. In other words, if your appendix needs to be removed, you’ll be okay without it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.