Appendicitis is a disease that involves inflammation and often infection of the vermiform appendix. Appendicitis is considered to be a surgical disease that requires removal of the affected appendix. The appendix doesn’t have an important role inside the organism and its removal doesn’t affect the normal activity of the body. The surgical procedure for removing the diseased appendix is uncomplicated and involves few risks. However, the problem is that appendicitis is usually diagnosed late.
The disease generally evolves latently, generating non-specific symptoms. In many cases, appendicitis sufferers may actually be asymptomatic, thus allowing the disease to progress further and even lead to complications. Severe cases of appendicitis can involve rupturing of the vermiform appendix and spreading of the infection inside the organism (sepsis). Such complications are life-threatening and they account for thousands of annual deaths in the United States.
Diagnosing appendicitis in time is a very challenging task for medical professionals worldwide. Until recently, appendicitis was diagnosed with the aid of ultrasounds and computerized tomography. However, these techniques alone aren’t always very reliable in revealing clear signs of appendicitis. For instance, these means of diagnosis aren’t effective for tracing specific manifestations of appendicitis in pregnant women. Due to enlargement of the uterus, pregnancy renders ultrasound testing ineffective in revealing the presence of an inflamed appendix. Although computerized tomography testing can be conclusive in diagnosing pregnant women with appendicitis, physicians don’t recommend this technique as it jeopardizes the normal development of the fetus. Computerized tomography involves exposure to radiation and thus it isn’t appropriate for diagnosing appendicitis under special circumstances.
The best alternative to these conventional medical techniques is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Magnetic resonance imaging is the safest and most reliable method of diagnosing appendicitis in present. MRI scans can quickly reveal specific physiological signs of appendicitis in most patients suspected to be affected by the disorder. Unlike other medical techniques, MRI examinations are very safe and they can also be performed on pregnant women.
Compared to ultrasound examinations, MRI scans can effectively trace early signs of appendicitis in pregnant women. Furthermore, MRI scans diminish the chances of misdiagnosis, as they can reveal the presence of many other internal disorders that mimic the manifestations of appendicitis. Medical professionals are very satisfied with this modern medical technique and they commonly use it in confirming clinical diagnoses of appendicitis.
Although some cases of appendicitis may still require computerized tomography in order to detect the presence of the disease in asymptomatic patients, nowadays magnetic resonance imaging is doctor’s first option in the process of diagnosing appendicitis. MRI allows doctors to intervene in early stages of the disease, before patients develop complications, thus considerably reducing the morbidity rate among appendicitis sufferers.