Your appendix is found in the lower right portion of your abdomen. This small, slimy, finger-shaped organ is attached to the cecum, a small pouch that's part of the intestines (the cecum is considered to be the beginning of the large intestine) and is part of your gastrointestinal tract.3
According to scientists in France and Australia, your appendix actually plays an important role in your immunity. Published in Nature Immunology, their study showed that the appendix — with the help of white blood cells known as innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) — works as a reservoir for beneficial bacteria (probiotics), which are essential for good gut health and healing from infections.4
When certain diseases (or use of antibiotics) eliminate the healthy bacteria in your gut, the appendix works as a storage unit for some of these probiotics. The researchers say that these findings should make people rethink whether the appendix is "irrelevant" to their health.
Once your body has successfully fought and rid itself of the infection, the bacteria emerge from the biofilm of the appendix to recolonize your gut, bringing it back to a healthy state.5 According to Gabrielle Belz, a professor at Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute:6
"We've found that ILCs may help the appendix to potentially reseed 'good' bacteria within the microbiome — or community of bacteria — in the body. A balanced microbiome is essential for recovery from bacterial threats to gut health, such as food poisoning."
Despite such findings, other recent research7 suggests prophylactic appendectomy "is ethically justifiable, as there are few complications," and "allows early detection of malignancies." In this case, 10 cases of cancer were found as a result of prophylactic appendectomy on 173 patients.
In the end, it may be an issue of personal choice after considering the pros and cons of removing this organ. Personally, I believe having the ability to repopulate your gut with beneficial bacteria after infection is a significant health benefit that I would be reluctant to eliminate unless absolutely necessary. And, recent research suggests surgery may not even be necessary in most cases of appendicitis either.