Appendicitis at the Millennium

Acute appendicitis is a common clinical problem. Accurate and prompt diagnosis is essential to minimize morbidity. While the clinical diagnosis may be straightforward in patients who present with classic signs and symptoms, atypical presentations may result in diagnostic confusion and delay in treatment. Helical computed tomography (CT) and graded compression color Doppler ultrasonography (US) are highly accurate means of establishing the diagnosis. These imaging modalities have now assumed critical roles in the treatment of patients suspected to have appendicitis. The purpose of this article is threefold: to provide an update on new information regarding the pathophysiology, clinical diagnosis, and laparoscopic treatment of acute appendicitis; to describe the state-of-the art use of CT and US in diagnosing this disease entity; and to address the role of medical imaging in this patient population.

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Article History

Published in print: May 2000