appendectomy meaning, appendectomy complications, appendectomy procedure, appendectomy scar, appendectomy recovery time, laparoscopic appendectomy, open appendectomy


Published on Mar 17, 2022

What is Appendectomy?

Appendectomy is an emergency surgical process used to treat appendicitis. It can also be defined as the surgical removal of the appendix when it has been infected. The appendix is a small pouch that is joined with the large intestine, located on the right side of the abdomen.

Appendectomy is categorized into 2 types; open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy. Laparoscopic appendectomy is a more recent and less invasive method.


Open appendectomy

A cut of about 2 to 3 inches is made over the abdomen to remove the appendix. During the procedure, the abdominal cavity is cleaned if the appendix ruptured. This type of procedure is chosen if the infected appendix is burst, infected, and infection has spread to other organs. It is also the most advised option for people who have undergone abdominal surgery in the past.


Laparoscopic Appendectomy

During the surgery, a few small incisions will be made on the abdomen and a cannula (small narrow tube) will be inserted. Carbon dioxide gas will be sent through the cannula to inflate the abdomen, thereby creating room for the surgeon inside the abdomen with the help of a tool. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a high-intensity light and a camera) will be inserted into the abdomen. The laparoscope sends video back to a screen that acts as a guide for the surgeon to see clearly inside the abdomen for the duration of the surgery. The appendix is located, isolated with stitches, and then removed. The laparoscope is removed, and the incisions made earlier are stitched up, cleaned, and dressed.

Due to the fewer risk and precision, it is usually done on patients who are overweight or are old.


Before Appendectomy

CT scan or ultrasonography is carried out by the surgeon to assess the intensity of the infection. Also, certain blood tests like Full Blood Count (FBC) and urine test to check for signs of infection and rule out urinary tract infection respectively will be conducted

After admission, the surgeon will instruct the patient to not eat for at least 8 to 10 hours or as permitted by the surgeon.

Antibiotics, saline solutions will be administered intravenously as well as giving you injections for possible signs of being nauseous.


During Appendectomy

In the procedure for appendectomy, general anesthesia will be given to the patient to render the entire body impervious to pain and makes the patient sleep during surgery.

Based on the severity of the infection, age, surgical history, and Body Mass Index (BMI), the surgeon might decide to go with open appendectomy or laparoscopic appendectomy.

The appendix is located and removed, then the incisions made for either procedure are cleaned with an antiseptic solution, stitched up, and dressed.


After Appendectomy

The patient will be observed before being released from the hospital. Being released early will depend on the type of appendectomy carried out. If it is a laparoscopic appendectomy, you will not be released until observations for hours have been done. During the observation, your vital signs; heart rate, and breathing will be checked periodically. Adverse reactions to anesthesia will be closely watched out for.

Days after the surgery, the patient might feel some pain where the incision was made. This should clear up within days. Report such pains that have continued for some days, as some medications will be prescribed to relieve them. After surgery, antibiotics will be prescribed to reduce the risk of infections. The patient has a role to play by always ensuring that they are of incision is kept clean. 

Appendectomy recovery depends on the type of procedure used. If open appendectomy was used, recovery can last for up to 4 weeks after surgery and for as long as 3 weeks for laparoscopic appendectomy.


Appendectomy Complications

Infection around incision

Nearby organ infection

Blocked bowels



When to Speak to a Doctor or Surgeon

Symptoms like;

sudden pain on the right lower side of the abdomen,

pain that gets worse when you cough,


loss of appetite,

can be indicative of appendicitis. It is advisable to see a doctor immediately. As earlier mentioned, appendectomy is an emergency surgical procedure. Speaking to a doctor on time can aid in a proper and quicker recovery from the infection of the appendix, and also can reduce the chance of spreading the infection to nearby organs.






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