Agenesis of the appendix

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 24 Feb 2019

Agenesis of the appendix is extremely rare, with an incidence at surgery of approximately 1 in 100,000 laparotomies 1. It is most commonly due to a sporadic etiology. However in the rare genetic condition, familial apple peel jejunal atresia, absence of the appendix is a recognized feature. Also thalidomide exposure in utero may lead to non-formation of the vermiform appendix.

The appendix in humans is regarded as a truly vestigial organ as despite much research, the absence of the appendix has not been shown to be associated with any deleterious health effects. Moreover people without appendices avoid the risk of developing acute appendicitis.

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