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 Table of Contents     
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170-172

Giant appendicolith: Rare finding in a common ailment

1 Department of Surgery, Northern Railway Central Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Radiology, ESI Model Hospital and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Radiology, Mahajan Imaging Centre, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission15-Jul-2015
Date of Acceptance20-Aug-2015
Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
Anu Singhal
244/ 2D, Railway Officers' Enclave, Panchkuian Road, New Delhi - 110 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9941.178514

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 ¤ Abstract 

Acute appendicitis is one of the commonest surgical emergencies worldwide. There is considerable variation in prevalence of appendicoliths with appendicitis. Most of the patients with appendicoliths are asymptomatic and they are not pathognomic for acute appendicitis. However, appendicoliths show increased association with perforation and abscess formation. Appendicolith are quite common, being present in 3% of general population and in nearly 10% cases of appendicitis. However, giant appendicoliths measuring over 2 centimeters (cms) are extremely rare. Computed Tomography (CT) has increased their pre-operative diagnosis considerably. Use of spectral analysis can give us the details of composition of the stone pre-operatively. We present a young male diagnosed pre-operatively on Non-Contrast Computed Tomography (NCCT) to have a giant calcium struvite appendicolith. On laparoscopy he had a 3 cm stone and an incidental Meckel's diverticulum and underwent appendectomy. The case is presented for the unique size of the appendicolith alongwith review of literature.

Keywords: Acute appendicitis, giant appendicolith, laparoscopic appendectomy

How to cite this article:
Singhal S, Singhal A, Mahajan H, Prakash B, Kapur S, Arora PK, Tiwari B, Sethi P. Giant appendicolith: Rare finding in a common ailment. J Min Access Surg 2016;12:170-2

How to cite this URL:
Singhal S, Singhal A, Mahajan H, Prakash B, Kapur S, Arora PK, Tiwari B, Sethi P. Giant appendicolith: Rare finding in a common ailment. J Min Access Surg [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 29];12:170-2. Available from:

 ¤ Introduction Top

Acute appendicitis, one of the commonest surgical emergencies, affects nearly 7% of the world's population and accounts for about 1% of all surgical operations. Faecoliths formed by mineral deposits layered with faecal debris and lodged in the appendix are called appendicoliths. The prevalence of faecoliths in the general population is 3%, and appendicoliths are seen in 10% cases of acute appendicitis. However, giant appendicoliths (>2 cm) are extremely uncommon.[1],[2],[3]

 ¤ Case Report Top

A 25-year-old male presented to us with pain in the right flank for 1 day. He had history of ureterorenoscopic removal of a right ureteric stone 1 year earlier. His vital signs, general physical examination and abdominal examination revealed no abnormality. Urinalysis was normal, and abdominal ultrasound raised a suspicion of small calculi in the right kidney. Non-contrast computed tomography (NCCT) abdomen revealed a few subcentimetric calculi in both kidneys without hydronephrosis or hydroureter. However, it also revealed a large appendicolith of 2.5 × 2.1 cm 2 size. [Figure 1]c and [Figure 1]d (mineral core), composed mainly of calcium and struvite on spectral analysis [Figure 1]a and [Figure 1]b. His routine investigations were essentially normal. He underwent laparoscopic appendectomy using a 10-mm supra-umbilical camera port and two 5 mm ports at the supra-pubic region and the left iliac fossa, respectively. A pre-ileal appendix was found hidden in flimsy adhesions posterior to the terminal ileum. An incidental Meckel's diverticulum was also found [Figure 1]f, which was not pathological and was left alone. The mesoappendix was cut using Harmonic scalpel (Johnson and Johnson make) and the appendix was cut at the base between ligatures [Figure 1]e. It was removed using a glove bag after enlarging the supra-umbilical incision because of the large stone size — 2.5 cm × 3.0 cm [Figure 1]g and [Figure 1]h. The patient had an uneventful recovery.
Figure 1: NCCT abdomen (a and b) The CT spectral analysis of the appendicolith shows the highest peak of the histogram corresponding to struvite-calcium (c) Multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) coronal image showing appendicolith 2.50 cm size (longitudinal) (d) Axial image showing appendicolith 2.10 cm size (transverse) (e-h) Laparoscopic appendectomy, procedure, specimen and appendicolith (e) Multiple ligations of base of appendix (f) Meckel's diverticulum (g) Size of appendicolith 3 cm on longest axis (h) Size of appendicolith 2.5 cm on the perpendicular axis

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 ¤ Discussion Top

Acute appendicitis was first reported by Fitz in 1886, and Wangensteen and Bowers proposed the theory of an obstructive component as a causative factor in 1937. Other proposed aetiologies include lymphoid hyperplasia, constipation, trauma, diet, genetic predilection, hypersensitivity and mucosal ulceration. Appendicoliths are usually seen in children and young adults. They are more common in males and in the retrocaecal appendix. A low-fibre diet increases the risk of faecolith formation.[1],[2],[3]

Appendicolith on plain abdominal x-ray is a reliable sign of appendicitis (70%). However, computed tomography (CT) is more sensitive, detecting even non-calcified faecoliths. On CT, appendicoliths appear as laminated bodies with gas in centre or homogenous opacity. When symptomatic, they carry 90% probability of acute appendicitis and 50% higher risk of perforation and abscess formation. Some authors have found good correlation (65-100%) between faecoliths on CT and appendicitis, while others have not.[1],[2]

In a retrospective review by Lowe et al., an appendicolith detected on CT had a sensitivity of 65%, specificity of 86%, and positive predictive value of 74% for the diagnosis of appendicitis.

Despite appendicoliths being common, a giant appendicolith (>2 cm) is extremely rare and only sporadically reported. The largest appendicolith we found was 2.3 cm (2 cm on CT).[3] Others include a 2.1 cm appendicolith reported by Garg and a 2.2 cm stone by Kaluarachchi.

Our case is probably the largest documented stone (3 × 2.5 cm 2) and the first whose chemical composition has been determined preoperatively by spectral analysis.

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Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest. The authors have not received any resources from a third party, directly or indirectly, to complete this work.

 ¤ References Top

Kaya B, Eris C. Different clinical presentation of appendicolithiasis. The report of three cases and review of the literature. Clin Med Insights Pathol 2011;4:1-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Singh JP, Mariadason JG. Role of the faecolith in modern-day appendicitis. Ann R Coll Surg Engl 2013;95:48-51.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kim DJ, Park SW, Choi SH, Lee JH, You KW, Lee GS, et al. A case of endoscopic removal of a giant appendicolith combined with stump appendicitis. Clin Endosc 2014;47:112-4.  Back to cited text no. 3


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