Unnecessary Appendectomy

Posted by ranger75 @ranger75, Sep 12, 2021

My wife had an appendectomy three days ago after reporting to the hospital with right sided abdominal pain. Unfortunately the appendix was normal when the doctors actually went inside. Reproductive organs and the GI system all appeared normal. My wife still has pain in the same area that brought her to the hospital. How common is it for an appendectomy to be performed in error?

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Geez , that’s terrible 😞. I’d make the hospital pay your out of pocket medical bills . Go get a different Dr. !! I hope they figure out what’s really going on .

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Hi @ranger75 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am sorry to hear that your wife is going through such a trying time. What a disappointment to go in for an appendectomy only to find that was not the issue at hand. While the members and moderators on Connect cannot help with a diagnosis, we can definitely offer insight from personal experiences and what other patients have mentioned.

One past member, @subhi stated that their daughter had an appendectomy that ended up to be negative for appendicitis and they were looking into a condition that can mimic the same symptoms. Here is a link on information regarding mesenteric lymphadenitis or mesenteric adenitis. It mostly effects teens, but it may be something to look into.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mesenteric-lymphadenitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353799
In addition, I would ask her physician to consider looking into other things that are mimickers of appendicitis such as Gastrointestinal diseases, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Infectious enterocolitis, diverticulitis etc.
https://www.intechopen.com/online-first/75380
I know you said her original testing presented as normal. Is she having any other symptoms besides pain?

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@amandaa

Hi @ranger75 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am sorry to hear that your wife is going through such a trying time. What a disappointment to go in for an appendectomy only to find that was not the issue at hand. While the members and moderators on Connect cannot help with a diagnosis, we can definitely offer insight from personal experiences and what other patients have mentioned.

One past member, @subhi stated that their daughter had an appendectomy that ended up to be negative for appendicitis and they were looking into a condition that can mimic the same symptoms. Here is a link on information regarding mesenteric lymphadenitis or mesenteric adenitis. It mostly effects teens, but it may be something to look into.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mesenteric-lymphadenitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353799
In addition, I would ask her physician to consider looking into other things that are mimickers of appendicitis such as Gastrointestinal diseases, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Infectious enterocolitis, diverticulitis etc.
https://www.intechopen.com/online-first/75380
I know you said her original testing presented as normal. Is she having any other symptoms besides pain?

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Hi Amanda, Thank you kindly for the helpful response. There is so much great information here for us to review. I think the most likely situation is that we are dealing with one of the noted mimickers. She does have one other relevant symptom – persistent diarrhea for about two months. We thought that was unrelated though because I had that same symptom immediately prior to her.

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Abdominal pain isn't always INSIDE the abdomen. Mayo Clinic Connect has a section on anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (A.C.N.E.S.), a condition which causes severe pain in the abdominal WALL. Gastroenterology is the wrong specialty for A.C.N.E.S. It's often in the right upper quadrant area and deserves mention for patients who have negative findings after a gastroenterologic workup.

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@juliepm

Abdominal pain isn't always INSIDE the abdomen. Mayo Clinic Connect has a section on anterior cutaneous nerve entrapment syndrome (A.C.N.E.S.), a condition which causes severe pain in the abdominal WALL. Gastroenterology is the wrong specialty for A.C.N.E.S. It's often in the right upper quadrant area and deserves mention for patients who have negative findings after a gastroenterologic workup.

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Thank you Julie! We had not heard of this possibility

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Nowadays there is CT scan as an additional diagnostic tool. Ultrasound is also used as well as lab tests and clinical diagnosis.
Years ago when CT scan and ultrasound were not routinely used, a rate of 10-15% normal appendices were expected.
Nowadays, the rate in some places is 5-10% and there is still effort to reduce it to under 5%.
Laparoscopic surgery is frequently used to diagnose appendicitis and remove a diseased appendix.

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@amandaa

Hi @ranger75 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I am sorry to hear that your wife is going through such a trying time. What a disappointment to go in for an appendectomy only to find that was not the issue at hand. While the members and moderators on Connect cannot help with a diagnosis, we can definitely offer insight from personal experiences and what other patients have mentioned.

One past member, @subhi stated that their daughter had an appendectomy that ended up to be negative for appendicitis and they were looking into a condition that can mimic the same symptoms. Here is a link on information regarding mesenteric lymphadenitis or mesenteric adenitis. It mostly effects teens, but it may be something to look into.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mesenteric-lymphadenitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353799
In addition, I would ask her physician to consider looking into other things that are mimickers of appendicitis such as Gastrointestinal diseases, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Infectious enterocolitis, diverticulitis etc.
https://www.intechopen.com/online-first/75380
I know you said her original testing presented as normal. Is she having any other symptoms besides pain?

Jump to this post

@amandaburnett : It is very important when patients present with abdominal pain to do a Carnett's test FIRST. If Carnett's test indicates abdominal WALL pain, none of those scans, tests, or surgeries are appropriate. This man's wife clearly had a slew of negative results! Suggest Carnett's before sending them on another wild goose chase.

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Did your wife ever find out the source of her pain? I have just encountered this same situation. I had an appendectomy last week and my appendix looked normal. I’m still having the same pain. So frustrating!

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Hi, 27 f , I have been fighting with the same pain in lower right abdomen for three years now. Surgeon started with diagnostic laparoscopy then decided to remove my appendix. And it wasn’t even inflamed. I am not only left with post surgical pain (it has been a year now) but I still have this lower right pain.. I hope your wife finds the source of the pain, I know I’m still looking.

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Hi @lauraconnor and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. That does seem quite unnecessary considering that wasn't the source of your pain. I am sorry to hear you had to endure that. Has any of your physicians suggested looking into your ovaries to check for things like endometriosis or adenomyosis?

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