Stephen Colbert had surgery
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Stephen Colbert had surgery

Stephen Colbert is recovering after he had surgery for a ruptured appendix. The official social media accounts for the late show with Stephen Colbert publicized a message from the host in late November announcing that the show would have to be cancelled for that week. “Sorry to say that I have to cancel our shows this week,” the message said. Steve, I know you’re thinking, Turkey overdose? A gravy boat capsizes? He goes on to say that he is healing from an appendix rupture surgery. “I’m grateful to my doctors for their care and to Evie and the kids for putting up with me,” he continued. “My pancreas will now handle all emails sent to my appendix.” 

This marks the second time that Colbert’s production schedule has been disrupted since his show, which was recorded live in front of an audience at Manhattan’s Ed Sullivan Theatre, returned to the air in early October after The Writers Guild of America’s protracted strike was resolved. Colbert, who has been the most-watched host on U.S late-night television for several years, hosted an episode from his home after he had tested positive for COVID-19 before the rest of the week’s instalments were cancelled. 

Stephen Colbert had surgery
Picture courtesy: Us Weekly

Among the guest celebrities due to appear on the show this week were actress Jennifer Garner, director Baz Luhrmann, actor Patrick Stewart, singer-actress Barbra Streisand and actor Kelsey Grammar. There were no details offered as to when Colbert fell ill and had surgery, how long he was hospitalized, or whether he had been discharged.

What caused the ruptured appendix?

Stephen Colbert probably had appendicitis which progressed and then became perforated. Rupturing of the appendix does not necessarily mean that the appendix exploded. It means that in the process of being infected, the wall of the appendix became gangrenous. This is an issue because appendicitis is the process where fluid is collected in the appendix, like an abscess or an inflammatory mass. When the appendix becomes ruptured or perforated, it requires immediate medical attention. It takes time for the process to go from appendicitis to rupture; it does not happen all at once. However, if diagnosis of the appendicitis is delayed, it can become gangrenous appendicitis which may then lead to more severe complications.

What is the treatment plan for a ruptured appendix?

The standard care for acute appendicitis is surgery to remove the affected appendix. However, some research has highlighted that in treating appendicitis, antibiotics may just be as effective as surgery. Results may vary based on an individual’s health circumstances, but in most cases, antibiotics are not usually considered as an alternative to an appendectomy. Most people choose surgery so that they can get on with their lives with no further issues. However, in the case that it perforates, the patient will be treated with antibiotics for about 5-7 days. This is to settle the inflammation that is going on, and then an interval appendectomy is carried out. Usually, treatment can be carried out locally but there is also the option of a scheduled overseas medical treatment. It would require a good medical travel agency for the purpose of medical tourism.

What is the recovery period of a ruptured appendix?

Appendicitis cases vary on an individual level, from very complicated to uncomplicated cases. When a patient has an early unruptured or uncomplicated appendicitis, they are usually discharged within hours after the surgery. They are free to return to their normal routines and their work. However, in complicated appendicitis, a patient may be in the hospital for a day or more. The patient may require strong intravenous antibiotics and may require the draining of the accumulated infected fluids. These patients often present with much more severe symptoms and may require a longer period of recovery of about a week or two.

What are the causes of appendicitis?

The appendix is a small pouch of intestinal tissue that is shaped like a finger, located between the small and large intestines. While appendicitis is common, the causes are not fully understood. The condition is said to have nothing to do with genetics, lack of exercise or even diet. It can also affect anybody, regardless of age, sex, racial or ethnic background. However, appendicitis is slightly more common in males than in females. It also happens more often in individuals in their teens and 20s, but it may still occur in older people of any age.

What is the progression of an appendicitis condition?

The function of the little organ is as much a mystery as the causes of appendicitis. Somehow, something gets stuck in the organ; it swells up, cuts off its blood supply, and becomes infected, which can progress to gangrenous condition and perforation. This can then lead to a seepage of infected contents and the development of an abscess, an inflammatory mass or even a generalized peritonitis. That is how it works, a mechanical problem that occurs from bad luck.

Stephen Colbert had surgery - appendicitis stages
Picture courtesy: Verywell Health

What are the signs to look out for when a patient has appendicitis?

Picture courtesy: Freepik

Appendicitis presents as a medical emergency that requires immediate attention, which may progress to a perforated or ruptured appendix. The sooner treatment is administered, the greater the chances of preventing a rupture. The symptoms that may be seen in appendicitis include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Inappetence

In the instance that any of these symptoms are being experienced, the person should immediately seek emergency medical help. Medical professionals will carry out tests to determine the appendicitis diagnosis and then proceed with the treatment.

Can a ruptured appendix be life-threatening?

When left untreated, appendicitis becomes a severe issue. Treating the condition with a minimally invasive appendectomy helps in the prevention of the progression of the condition to a ruptured appendix. Since an appendicitis is a localized infection, it can usually be handled quickly. When left untreated, gangrenous appendicitis can develop, with a perforation happening, leading to either localized or generalized peritonitis. Peritonitis is the inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the thin layer of tissue that surrounds the inside of the abdomen and most of the abdominal organs. Inflammation of this peritoneum may result in sepsis and possibly death.

The information provided in this blog is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace professional medical consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any decisions regarding your health. Read more

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