In Britain appendicectomy is the most common abdominal operation, about 100,000 being performed annually, i.e. on average about 4 among each GP’s patients. Some 20,000 of these are non-urgent.1 About 20% of all appendices removed are normal, but it is not clear how many of these come from the non-urgent cases. Diagnostic error is twice as common in women as in men.2–4
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