A human appendix is between 2 and 20 centimeters long, with an average length of 11 centimeters in an adult. It is located at the cecum in the space between the large and small intestine. The appendix can be found on the lower right side of the body.
This anatomical structure is also called the vermiform appendix due to its thin, worm-like shape. It has no known biological function, though it has been suggested that the appendix may play a role in populating the colon with good bacteria to promote colon health. No negative health effects are seen in patients living without an appendix.
In some people, the appendix becomes inflamed and has the possibility of rupturing. This is a dangerous medical condition since the bacteria from the appendix can seep into the abdominal cavity and cause serious intra-abdominal infections. In these situations, an appendectomy is performed, and the appendix is removed completely. Antibiotics may also be prescribed as a precaution in case any bacteria were released in the extraction process. Signs of appendicitis include severe abdominal pain in the lower right quadrant, nausea and vomiting. A CT scan, ultrasound or thorough medical examination can help detect an inflamed appendix.