• Appendicitis patient with doctors

A Tale of Two Appendixes

Chicago Woman with Rare Condition Has Successful Surgery at Ingalls

Aimee Davis, an educator at the Field Museum in Chicago, is more accustomed to explaining history than making it, but the 36-year-old Chicagoan made news when she had not one – but two – appendixes removed at Ingalls Hospital in August.

"It began as a pain in my stomach," she recalls. When the persistent pain traveled to her right side, Aimee contacted her family doctor Kaveh Rahmani, D.O. A CT scan at Ingalls Family Care Center in Tinley Park confirmed appendicitis. He also contacted general surgeon Michael Romberg, M.D., to perform Aimee's appendectomy.

During surgery, Dr. Romberg found a perfectly normal appendix. But when he explored further, he discovered "a little abnormality on the side of the colon," he said. "It was inflamed and thickened; definitely an odd finding."

His first thought was that it might be a colon perforation or diverticulitis. He removed both, sent them to the lab for evaluation and prescribed a course of antibiotics for Aimee.

To everyone's surprise, the mystery growth turned out to be a second appendix! "I've read about a second appendix, but I've never seen one before," he added. "I talked to other surgeons, and they haven't seen it either. It's just one of those things you read about.

"I'd never even heard of it before," Dr. Rahmani adds. Nor had Aimee, who before her surgery, had never been hospitalized, much less had surgery.

"I feel really lucky and grateful to both my doctors," she said. "This could have had a much different ending."

Aimee admits she became a kind of sensation when she returned to work just 10 days after surgery. "The scientists I work with were particularly interested," she added with a laugh.

Looking back, Aimee says she frequently suffered from unexplained bouts of gastrointestinal pain and discomfort over the past 10 to 15 years, but no resulting test was ever conclusive. Since the removal of her appendixes, however, Aimee's pain has not returned.

If you have signs and symptoms of appendicitis, call your doctor right away. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.

Appendicitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Pain that worsens when you cough, walk or make other jarring movements
  • Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
  • A low-grade fever
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating

For more information or a referral to a doctor, call Ingalls Care Connection at 708.915.CARE (2273).

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