Galveston County Daily News, Jan. 24, 2007 By Drs. Sally Robinson and Keith Bly The appendix is a small, finger-shaped structure that is attached to the large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. The appendix does not serve any purpose in the body. The appendix can become infected when it is blocked by something, such as a piece of food that was being digested, or if a person has had an intestinal infection. This infection is known as appendicitis. There is no known way to prevent appendicitis, and the only way to treat it is to remove the organ surgically. If an infected appendix is not removed, a life-threatening situation occurs because it may burst and spread its infection throughout the abdomen in as little as 48 hours.