Having Had An Appendectomy

Evaluating Risk Factors: Having Had Your Appendix Removed

Evaluating your likely current (and near future) state of health means taking into account the risk factors — such as having had an appendectomy — that affect you.   Our medical diagnosis tool, The Analyst™, identifies major risk factors by asking the right questions.

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If you indicate having undergone surgery in the past, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Have you had an Appendectomy, a procedure in which the appendix is removed?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Yes, before age 10
→ Yes, before age 20
→ Yes, after age 20

The Diagnostic Process

Based on your response to this question, which may indicate having an intact appendix, appendix removed before age 10, appendix removed before age 20 or appendix removed after age 20, The Analyst™ will use differential diagnosis to consider possibilities such as:
Clostridium Difficile Infection

It is now thought by many doctors that the appendix is a "safe house" or cultivation center for the normal, beneficial bacteria that our gut needs.  When a serious infection strips away the good bacteria, the appendix can then release good bacteria back into the large intestine to repopulate it.

A study involving 252 patients at Winthrop University Hospital found that patients without an appendix were more than twice as likely to have a recurrence of C. difficile.  Recurrence in individuals with their appendix intact occurred in 18% of cases; recurrence in those without their appendix occurred in 45% of cases.

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack

Swedish researchers reported in 2011 that having the appendix (or tonsils) removed before age 20 increases one's risk of suffering a heart attack at a young age – 33% increased risk for the appendix, and 44% for tonsils.

Crohn's Disease

A study reported in the January 2003 issue of the journal Gastroenterology found that people who had their appendix removed were 47% more likely to develop Crohn's disease than those who did not have the surgery.

A much larger study followed 709,353 appendectomy patients in Sweden and Denmark for up to 41 years.  It found that "Children who underwent an appendectomy before the age of 10 years were not at an increased risk, whereas appendectomies at all age groups above the age of 10 years were associated with a significantly elevated risk of Crohn's disease".  The risk of developing Crohn's Disease is at least 3 times higher within a year of undergoing an appendectomy.

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