Appendix (anatomy)

From Ascension Glossary
Appendix in Gray's Anatomy

The Appendix is a blind-ended tube connected to the cecum, from which it develops in the embryo. The cecum is a pouchlike structure of the colon, located at the junction of the small and the large intestines.The human appendix averages 9 cm in length but can range from 2 to 20 cm. The diameter of the appendix is usually between 7 and 8 mm. While the base of the appendix is at a fairly constant location—2 cm below the ileocecal valve, the tip of the appendix can be variably located—in the pelvis, outside the peritoneum or behind the cecum.

Immune and lymphatic system

The appendix has been identified as an important component of mammalian mucosal immune function, particularly B cell mediated immune responses and extrathymically derived T cells. This structure helps in the proper movement and removal of waste matter in the digestive system, contains lymphatic vessels that regulate pathogens, and lastly, might even produce early defences that prevent deadly diseases. Additionally, it is thought that this may provide more immune defences from invading pathogens and getting the lymphatic system's B and T cells to fight the viruses and bacteria that infect that portion of the bowel and training them, so that immune responses are targeted and more able to reliably and less dangerously fight off pathogens. In addition there are different immune cells called innate lymphoid cells that function in the gut, to help the appendix maintain digestive health. [1]


Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. Pain often begins in the center of the abdomen, corresponding to the appendix's development as part of the embryonic midgut. This pain is typically a dull, poorly localized, visceral pain.As the inflammation progresses, the pain begins to localize more clearly to the right lower quadrant, as the peritoneum becomes inflamed. This peritoneal inflammation, or peritonitis, results in rebound tenderness (pain upon removal of pressure rather than application of pressure).

Appendicitis can be the breakdown of the ability to filter incoming reality and to protect ourselves from that reality.

Appendix Vital Role

In traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, the appendix is known to play a vitally important role. It breeds large quantities of friendly, probiotic bacteria and supplies them to the colon and other parts of the gut in order to neutralize any harmful substances. The strategic location of the appendix allows these useful microorganisms to blend with the fluid fecal matter as it begins its passage through the large intestine. More than 400 strands of beneficial bacteria live in the human gastrointestinal tract. By attaching themselves to the lining of the gut, they can elbow out potentially troublesome bacteria, such as Candida Albicans. Balanced populations of the friendly, probiotic bacteria in the gut effectively prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections. They also discourage tumors, particularly cancerous growths in the colon, either by emitting protective chemicals or by inhibiting the production of compounds that nurture cancers. A diminished population of probiotic bacteria, as caused for example by antibiotics, alcohol or junk foods exposes the gastrointestinal lining numerous toxins. This leads to an overstimulated immune system and, thereby, causes asthma, allergies and eczema.

Until very recently, doctors believed that the appendix has no real use or function. In 2005, 321,000 Americans were hospitalized with appendicitis. Removal of the appendix is one of the most commonly performed surgeries. Now, researchers comprised of surgeons and immunologists at Duke University Medical School say the appendix is there to protect the gut, which is not a small job by any means. This worm-shaped organ outgrowth acts like a bacteria factory, cultivating good germs, according to their study, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, October 2007.[2]


See Also

Lymphatic System

RBC Formation

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