When I heard that [CR3] Rafael Nadal (ESP) was diagnosed with appendicitis, the physician in me was curious. Then I heard that he was on a course of antibiotics and he was going to play in the Shanghai Rolex Masters 1000 Event, I was concerned. So, I decided that I needed to put my mind at ease that Rafa was not taking any un-necessary risks with his health and I did some research into the subject. In addition, I also conferred with a trusted colleague at a leading NYC Medical Center.
It is a well accepted practice to treat patients with an appendiceal abscess or phlegmon (a walled off diffuse inflammatory process where there is the formation of pus) with a non-surgical approach (antibiotics) and an interval appendectomy at six weeks is usually recommended.
The appendix is the perfect site for an inflammatory process to occur since it is a closed-ended tubular structure that is narrow and drains via only one opening into the cecum (part of the large intestine); thus, the appendiceal opening can easily be blocked or occluded, resulting in inflammation, commonly known as appendicitis.
SOURCE: Andersson RE, Petzold MG: Ann Surg. 2007 Nov; 246(5): 741-748