An appendectomy is the surgical elimination of the appendix. It’s a common emergency surgery that’s done to treat appendicitis, an inflammatory case of the appendix.
The appendix is a small, tube-shaped pouch joined to your large intestine. It’s found in the lower right side of your abdomen. The exact role of the appendix isn’t known. However, it’s believed that it may assist us recover from diarrhea, inflammation, and infections of the small and large intestines.
When the appendix becomes inflamed and swollen, bacteria can grow fast inside the organ and lead to the formation of pus. This growth of bacteria and pus can lead pain around the stomach button that spreads to the lower right section of the abdomen. Walking or coughing can increase the pain. You also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
An appendectomy is carried out to remove the appendix when an infection has made it inflamed and swollen. This condition is called appendicitis. The infection may appear when the opening of the appendix becomes congested with bacteria and stool. This makes your appendix to become swollen and inflamed.
The simplest and fastest way to treat appendicitis is to remove the appendix. Your appendix could burst if appendicitis isn’t treated at once and effectively. If the appendix bursts, the bacteria and fecal particles within the organ can spread into your stomach. This may lead to a serious infection referred to as peritonitis. You can as well develop an abscess if your appendix bursts. Both are life-threatening situations that require urgent surgery.
Stomach pain that starts suddenly close to the stomach button and spreads to the lower right side of the abdomen
Rigid abdominal muscles
Loss of appetite
Constipation or diarrhea
Although ache from appendicitis generally occurs in the lower right side of the abdomen, pregnant women may have pain in the upper right side of the abdomen. This is due to the fact that the appendix is higher during pregnancy.
An appendectomy is a quite simple and common procedure. However, there are some risks related with the surgery, including:
Injury to nearby organs
It’s necessary to note that the risks of an appendectomy are much less severe than the risks related with untreated appendicitis. An appendectomy requires to be done immediately to avoid abscesses and peritonitis from developing.
You’ll need to stay away from eating and drinking for at least eight hours prior to the appendectomy. It’s also necessary to tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Your doctor will inform you how they should be used before and after the procedure.
Have a history of bleeding disorders
Are pregnant or you that that you may be pregnant
Are sensitive to latex or certain medications, such as anesthesia
When you’re at the hospital, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and carried a physical examination. At time of the examination, your doctor will softly push against your abdomen to pinpoint the source of your abdominal pain.
There are two kinds of appendectomy: open and laparoscopic. The kind of surgery your doctor chooses will be based on several factors, along with the severity of your appendicitis and your medical history.
At the time of an open appendectomy, a surgeon does one incision in the lower right side of your abdomen. Your appendix is taken out and the wound is closed with stitches. This surgical procedure allows your doctor to wipe the abdominal cavity if your appendix has ruptured.
Your doctor may decide to do an open appendectomy if your appendix has burst and the infection has spread to other organs. It’s also the better option for people who have had abdominal surgery in the past.
For laparoscopic appendectomy, a surgeon accesses the appendix from few minor cuts in your abdomen. A small, narrow tube knowns as a cannula will then be inserted. The cannula is used to inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This gas will let the surgeon to see your appendix more clearly.
Once the abdomen is inflated, an instrument known as a laparoscope will be inserted through the incision. Laparoscopic surgery is usually the best alternative for older adults and people who are overweight. It has fewer risks than an open appendectomy procedure, and typically has a shorter recovery time.
When the appendectomy is over, you’ll be monitored for several hours before you’re released from the hospital. Your vital signs, such your respiration and heart rate, will be observed closely. Hospital staff will also check for any detrimental reactions to the anesthesia or the procedure.
The timing of your discharge will depend on:
Your body’s reaction to the surgery
Your overall physical condition
The type of appendectomy performed
You may as well be able to go home the same day as the surgery if your appendicitis wasn’t severe. A family member or friend will need to drive you home if you had general anesthesia. The effects of general anesthesia usually take a lot time to wear off, so it can be unsafe to drive after the procedure.
You should also watch for signs and symptoms of infection, which include:
Redness and swelling around the incision
Diarrhea or constipation that lasts for more than two days
Fever above 101°F
Loss of appetite
Though there’s a small risk of infection, a lot of people get better from appendicitis and an appendectomy with little difficulty. Total recovery from an appendectomy takes about one to two months. At this time, your doctor will possibly advise that you to limit physical activity so that your body can heal. You’ll have to go for a follow-up appointment with your doctor within two to three weeks after the appendectomy.
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