In Brief

John Mayer's Emergency Surgery: How Common Is Appendicitis?

john mayer
John Mayer performing on Aug. 23 in Wantagh, New York. (Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty)

Singer-songwriter John Mayer went to the hospital this morning (Dec. 5) for an emergency appendectomy, or surgery to remove his appendix.

Dead & Company, the band Mayer is currently touring with, announced the musician's surgery on Twitter. "Early this morning, Tuesday, December 5th, John Mayer was admitted into the hospital for emergency appendectomy forcing the Dead & Company December 5th concert in New Orleans to be postponed," the band tweeted.

The appendix is a small, tube-like organ attached to the large intestine. The organ has no known function, but it can become blocked, leading to swelling and inflammation known as appendicitis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). If a person who has appendicitis does not receive treatment, his or her appendix can burst, and infection can spread throughout the abdomen, leading to a dangerous condition called peritonitis, the NLM says.

Symptoms of appendicitis include sudden pain on the right side of the lower abdomen; pain that worsens when you cough, walk or make other jarring movements; nausea and vomiting; loss of appetite; and a low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Appendicitis is usually treated with surgery to remove the appendix. The condition is considered a medical emergency, and it's important to remove the organ before it bursts, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Anyone can get appendicitis, but the condition is most common in people ages 10 to 30, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Mayer is 40.) The median age is 22, according to Medscape. About 250,000 cases of appendicitis occur each year in the United States, Medscape says.

Appendicitis is slightly more common in males than in females. In teens and young adults, for every three males that get the condition, two females get it, and in adults, it occurs 1.4 times more often in men than in women, according to Medscape.

Originally published on Live Science.

Sara G. Miller
Staff Writer
Sara is a staff writer for Live Science, covering health. She grew up outside of Philadelphia and studied biology at Hamilton College in upstate New York. When she's not writing, she can be found at the library, checking out a big stack of books.