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What happens if my appendix bursts?

When the appendix bursts, the result is that feces and bacteria can get into the belly, which can cause infection. Sometimes if this is caught early it can be treated with laparoscopic surgery to try to get rid of the infection. If there is already an abscess, it may need to be drained with the help of radiologists before surgery is planned to remove the appendix.

A burst appendix is a serious condition. This is when infection from inside the appendix has spilled into the abdominal cavity. Anyone with a burst appendix has a life-threatening condition and can develop septic shock. The most important treatment for a burst appendix is to get intravenous antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

In children with a burst appendix immediate surgery may not be required. Many will improve with antibiotics alone, which is good, because removing an appendix when it has burst can be a very difficult and lengthy surgery. However, not all children do well with antibiotics alone and may require emergent surgery to remove the appendix and clean up the infection. The decision to operate or not should be tailored to each individual person.

Joan Haizlip, MSN
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

If the appendix bursts, pus pours into the abdominal cavity. This causes an infection of the abdominal cavity (peritonitis). That is why surgery needs to be done right away to prevent the appendix from bursting.

Clearly, it is much better to get the appendix out before it has a chance to burst, if possible. When the appendix ruptures, it spills bacteria and inflammatory fluids into the abdominal cavity. A patient with a ruptured appendix before surgery has a 10-fold risk of developing complications.

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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.