A ruptured appendix is considered a potentially life-threatening condition, so individuals must seek emergency care and undergo surgery, according to Mayo Clinic. A surgeon performs an open appendectomy to clean infectious intestinal matter out of the abdominal cavity, drain any harmful abscesses, and remove the appendix.
Physicians use techniques such as abdominal and rectal exams, ultrasounds, and urine tests to diagnose an inflamed appendix and search for signs of infection, WebMD states. The symptoms often overlap with other gastrointestinal problems, so doctors may use tests to rule out other conditions. After administering antibiotics and general aesthesia, the surgeon removes the ruptured appendix by making an incision into the abdomen.
An inflamed appendix is known as appendicitis, a condition that occurs when the organ is blocked by a buildup of stool, cancerous growths or foreign substances, WebMD notes. Without immediate treatment, the appendix can burst and leak its contents into the abdominal cavity, causing an inflammatory condition known as peritonitis. An abscess filled with pus may also develop around the appendix, blocking off the infectious material from other parts of the abdomen.
Appendicitis usually causes increasing pain near the navel and lower right abdomen, according to Mayo Clinic. An individual may experience nausea, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite or vomiting, and feel sharper abdominal pain when moving or coughing. The person may also develop a mild fever.