Diagnosis of Appendicitis

If your doctor suspects your child may have appendicitis, they will recommend one or more of the following tests:

  • Physical exam. Your child’s doctor will perform a complete physical exam, including asking questions about your child’s pain and personal and family health history.
  • Blood test. Your doctor can use a blood test to check your child’s white blood cell count. A high white blood cell count could indicate an infection. White blood cells fight infection and other illnesses in the body.
  • Urine test. This test can rule out other conditions, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones, that can cause similar symptoms.
  • Imaging tests. Your child may need to undergo imaging tests to confirm an appendicitis diagnosis or rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Imaging tests can include:
    • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of your child’s body.
    • Computerized tomography (CT) scan. This test uses X-rays and specialized computers to create detailed images of the inside of your child’s body.

Treatments for Appendicitis

If your child has appendicitis, they will likely need an appendectomy, which is a surgery to remove their appendix. Your child’s surgeon can typically perform an appendectomy using the minimally invasive laparoscopic approach described below. Your child will be under general anesthesia (fully asleep) for the surgery.

During a laparoscopic appendectomy, your child’s surgeon will make one to three tiny incisions (cuts) in the abdomen (belly). The surgeon uses a long, thin tube (laparoscope) with a camera on the end connected to a video monitor. To detach the appendix, the surgeon uses the camera to guide their surgical tools. Once complete, the surgeon removes the appendix, surgical tools and laparoscope. They then close the incisions with stitches and covers the stitches with a bandage or surgical glue.

After the appendectomy, your child will spend a few hours in a post-operative area while the effects of anesthesia wear off. If the appendix is not ruptured, your child may go home within one or two days after surgery, as long as they are not having fevers and are recovering well. If it is ruptured, they will need antibiotics to treat the infection, and may need to stay in the hospital longer.  

Since the appendix is not a vital organ, a surgeon can safely remove it, and your child can go on to live a normal, healthy life.

Find a Location

Find the closest ER to you

If you suspect that your child may have appendicitis, find the closest emergency room to you so your child can start on the road to improved health.