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Vermiform appendix

from Latin: vermis - worm
Synonyms: blind gut, vermix, cecal appendix, caecal appendix
German: Appendix vermiformis

1 Definition

The vermiform appendix, or just appendix is a worm-shaped, approximately 10 centimeters long protruding bulge of the cecum which is mainly made up of lymphatic tissue.

2 Anatomy

The appendix is located in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen in the iliac fossa. Its diameter is roughly 6-7 mm. The base of the appendix lies ca. 2 cm below the ileocecal valve. The fold of mucous membrane at the entrance of the appendix (ostium appendicis vermiformis) is sometimes referred to as Gerlach's valve, named for German anatomist Joseph von Gerlach.

Length of the appendix is highly variable with values between 2 and 20 centimeters. Just as variable is the location of the appendix in the abdominal cavity. The most common variant is a retrocecal location. It can be situated in the retroperitoneal space but it can also have a connection to the mesentery, by way of the mesoappendix.

Arterial blood supply is provided by the appendicular artery which comes from the ileocolic artery of the superior mesenteric artery.

2.1 Anatomical variability

3 Histology

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4 Function

The appendix is part of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). It's a lymphatic organ that has an immunoregulatory function.

5 Pathology

An inflammation of the appendix is called an appendicitis.

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