I’ve become a fan of Russian/Ukrainian/Eastern European women in the last few years, thanks to the widespread availability on the Internet of ahem adult entertainment featuring models from that part of the world. I’ve also noticed something that I haven’t seen among Western models: lots and lots of appendectomy scars.
Why is this? Is it poor women agreeing to pose nude to pay their medical bills? Less-advanced medical technology necessitating more appendectomies, where in the West the surgery can be avoided thanks to earlier detection or better procedures? Simply a matter of Western studios airbrushing the scars away, while Eastern studios don’t bother?
Elective appendectomy is not common at all for otherwise healthy, low-risk patients, at least in the US. Risks tend to outweigh benefits. Chances of significant surgical complications are greater than the reduced morbidity from preventing an occasional case of appendicitis.
On occasion, some folks wintering in Antarctica are reported to have had theirs removed electively before heading south.
In ages past, many times the diagnosis of appendicitis was made, the patient was opened up, and lo and behold! the appendix was normal. The diagnosis turned out to be viral gastro-enteritis (or something.) Oops. Take the appendix out anyway, in that case, as long as you’re there. But no surgeon liked finding the dreaded “white worm” (normal appendix) after telling patient and family that surgery was necessary.
Now, before a surgeon decides to go in, a good spiral CT study will usually be done to demonstrate appendicitis or the lack of it.
Also note that women are more likely to have ‘negative’ appendectomies because they can have ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and other gynecologic conditions that can mimic appendicitis. Historically, negative appendectomy rates in women have been as high as 50%, compared to 20-30% overall . I don’t know what the acceptable negative appendectomy rate was in the Eastern Bloc in the last 15 years, but it’s probably higher than the US, where the use of spiral CT has dropped the rate from 20% to 3-5% since the late 90’s. A negative appendectomy rate of zero, by the way, is also unacceptable because you are not being aggressive enough and some of those appendixes will have burst while you are deciding whether or not to operate. Burst appendicitis leads to longer hospital stays and more morbidity.
Just to throw in an anecdote, my mom was not taken by the ambulance three times with “You have food poisoning, stop calling us” after which they would leave without her. This was in Moscow in the 1960’s, and her mom had to pull some strings through somebody they knew to get her admitted to a hospital, but by that time it burst and she had peritonitis. They had to keep her open for almost a week, so the scar was much worse and much more prominent. Until I came along and eclipsed it with my cesarean scar.
I don’t think either of those are in the same place as an appendectomy scar. A doctor can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think an appendectomy scar is about 3-4 inches to the right of the navel, and another 2-4 inches down from that. A C-section scar will be closer to the center, and perhaps a bit lower, and a tubal ligation scar will be a little lower, as well.
I had a laparoscopic appendectomy about 8 years ago, which left a 2" scar on the left side of my abdomen, a 1/4" scar halfway between my belly button and my boobs, and a similar sized one an inch or so below my belly button. Oddly, the scars all vanished with my first pregnancy; guess the stretching of my belly made them go away.
My tubal ligation only required less than a 1/4" incision in my belly button, and two little teeny holes on either side, about the size of a pencil lead, about two inches below it. No visible scars at all.
Laparoscopic anything would also have been very, very rare in the USSR. Looks like they didn’t really start doing laparoscopic appendectomies until after the collapse; earliest Russian article on doing laparoscopic appendectomies that I could find was dated to 1994.
I’ve noticed the same thing before - definitely an appendectomy scar, and it seems to be very common (like 50%) among Eastern European women in their early 20s. I assumed it was done as a preventative measure because there’s just no way appendix issues are that prevalent.