They took my appendix-where did it go?

Hey all
I just had appendicitis and it obviously required an appendectomy. So why didn’t i get to keep my appendix? I always hear these stories about people with their appendixes? appendices? in jars on their coffee tables. Why don’t they do this anymore? I guess I should have asked the nurse…amazing what a little codine can do to your brain…anyway its too late now. So what did they do with my appendix?

Probably got biopsied and then it got tossed out with the rest of the medical waste.
Depending on where you live, check your local beach to see if it washed ashore.

I’m pretty sure they’ve incinerated it. At hospital-incinerator temperatures, not much will be left except heat and a few thousand oxidized carbon-based molecules. Not even a respectable pile of ash. By the way, you only have one appendix, unless there is something wrong. Never mind that there isn’t a reason on earth for a human to have one appendix. Chalk it up to junk DNA creating a perfect vector for infection.

They might have kept it. I had a junior high science teacher once who simply wrote a nice letter to the pathologist at the local hospital, and obtained some human tissue to use in his class - he showed us an appendix, a fallopian tube and couple other bits and pieces. Thinking back on it, I’m surprised they’d do that, or that it was even legal.

That teacher was a marvelously inventive guy. He wanted to teach us about the structure of the eye, and obtained cow eyeballs from a meat packer in order to have us dissect them. Among other things, we all wound up learning that the lenses were rubbery and would bounce …

I had an appendectomy when I was 12, not due to appendicitis - scar tissue from a previous injury (adhesions) had choked off my appendix and produced symptoms identical to those of appendicitis. My surgeon brought my appendix to my bedside, in a milk bottle, to show me. Commented that it was the first healthy appendix he’d ever removed.

Well, I wondered, as you did, where it went. I don’t know.

I’d previously had a lot of my liver removed and, though I suspect landfill as it’s ultimate destination, whenever I dine on locally bagged catfish, I wonder if there’s not some near reunion going on.

Bon appetit!

Your appendix would have gone straigth to the pathology dept for examination. After that, it would probably be stored for a period (possibly months or years). The details would depend on local/state laws, hospital policy, and even how the operation went (e.g. possible lawsuits) Some tissues and conditions (e.g. confirmation sample and slides of malignancies) are kept far longer than others.

If you read your informed consent form, you may see a clause allowing the hospital to use the tissue for teaching, research, etc.

While hospitals do dispose of lots of medical wastes that are classified as ‘tissues’, the large tertiary care hospitals i’ve been associated with would incinerate bulk tissues like organs (or appendices), if the time came to dispose of them. “Human tissues” disposed of in the medical wastes are generally things like blood and scraps.

andyroo010, just a guess, but why don’t you call the hospital info line & ask them & get back to us?

ok heres one i know because i work in a lab.

In the post AIDS germ hysteria and in lawsuit happy america noone gets to keep their organs and stuff. The ogran goes to the lab where it is discected and samples taken. The samples are analized and the stored by law for 30 years. the rest is destroyed. Expect a pathology bill in the mail soon.


"…and the stored by law for 30 years’

Surely you jest. A thirty year old sample?

When I was in college one of the jobs I had was in a hospital. One night I was on the basement floor and saw two guys in containment suits (gas masks & all) shoveling medical waste INCLUDING body parts, into the incinerator. It was really gross, and smelled 1000 times worse. I have a strong constitution, but that really got to me. Maybe that’s were your appendix ended up.

Absolutely. But the saved ‘samples’ may be nothing more than a few slides that clearly demonstrate the pathology.

I was involved in the big push to computerize medical records in the early 90’s, and I can tell you that storage is a big issue for doctor’s offices and hospital. It’s a lot more complicated than you might suspect! Older hospitals have usually hire an off-site records warehouse, and have at least a daily ‘record shuttle’ to retrieve and return records as they are needed.

(Your medical record, incidentally belongs to your physician, and not you, for precisely this reason. The physician is legally responsible for making sure they are stored safely. You are entitled to a copy or summary, but not the records themselve. We get a lot of grief over this.)

Lately, I’ve been getting X-ray folders that say “DO NOT RETURN – if you return these films, they will be destroyed” That’s how bad the problem is! (Now that an increasing number of radiologic images are made digitally, they are stored on computer and printed out when needed.)

Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter is still at large . . .

Umm, did you see “mystery meat” on the Hospital cafeteria menu, by chance? :smiley:

OH MAN!!! I had my appendix removed, quite a nice healthy speciman in fact, due to the fact that it was a Intestinal Infection and not the appendix at all, and it never crossed my mind to ask where the darn thing went! :o And to beat all, i worked at the very same hospital that removed it at that time. Double ugh.
Although i don’t recall seeing Mystery Meat on the menu anytime after that, but i did avoid the Hospital Cafe at all costs anyway. :smiley:

I was working at the Salk Institute in La Jolla & we put the old rats, mice, etc in a big oven in back.