An appendectomy, the surgical removal of the appendix, is most often performed to treat appendicitis (an inflammation of the appendix).
Appendicitis occurs when an infection causes the appendix to swell causing irritation and inflammation in the organ.
Due to the possibility of rupture in the appendix within 48 to 72 hours, appendectomies are often performed as emergency procedures.
Symptoms of Appendicitis
The most prevalent symptom associated with appendicitis is sharp pain in the abdomen that seems to increase in severity over time. Other symptoms may include:
- Abdominal Swelling
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your primary physician or visit the nearest emergency department.
Preparing for Your Appendectomy
Our staff will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you might have prior to surgery. You may receive a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to ensure you are in good health for the procedure.
Please make sure to bring a complete list of all medications and herbal supplements you are currently taking with you to your appointment.
Please let our staff know if you have any of the following conditions:
- Pregnant or suspect you are pregnant
- Allergic to medications, latex, tape, or anesthetics
- History of bleeding disorders or are taking a blood thinner, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting
What to Expect
Appendectomies are most often performed as emergency procedures, which may require a short hospital stay. You will be asked to remove any jewelry or objects that interfere with the surgery as well as your clothing; you will be given a surgical gown to wear.
A member of our staff will start an intravenous (IV) line in one of your arms.
The surgery is performed with the patient lying on their back while they are under general anesthesia. An anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen levels during the surgery.
The laparoscopic appendectomy procedure makes use of several small incisions in conjunction with a laparoscopic camera and laparoscopic instruments. After carbon dioxide inflates the abdomen for better visualization, small incisions are made for the insertion of the camera and instruments. The appendix will be located and removed through one of these small incisions. The laparoscopic camera and instruments will be removed and the incisions closed.
In some cases, the surgeon will start with the laparoscopic method and need to switch to the open appendectomy technique.
In an open appendectomy, an incision is made in the lower right side of the abdomen. After the infected appendix has been located, it will be tied off with sutures and removed. After the appendix has been removed, the incision will be closed.\
You may spend approximately one hour or longer in the recovery room before you are taken back to your room either in the ambulatory care unit or on the medical/surgical floor.
While in the recovery room, your surgeon usually meets with your family to let them know how you are doing and to answer any questions they may have. Your family will meet you in your room.
Depending on which procedure was performed, the patient will remain in a hospital room or discharged to be taken home.
You must be alert, take fluids without vomiting, and urinate before discharge. Your nurse will give you written discharge instructions based on your surgeon's orders.
Do not drive or drink alcohol for 24 hours after your surgery. Patients cannot be discharged unaccompanied via taxicab or public transportation. Please plan to have a competent caregiver available to stay with you and assist you the day and night of surgery.
At the time of discharge, a prescription for pain medication will be given to you. If you have any questions or concerns during your stay, please ask your nurse.
Once you have been discharged, it is important to keep the incision clean and dry. Our staff will provide you with specific showering instructions.
You may experience some soreness in the abdominal area for a few days or longer. Make sure to take a pain reliever recommended by your physician.
Walking and limited movement is encouraged, but strenuous activity should be avoided. Any weight limitations will be explained to you.
Arrangements for a follow-up appointment with our staff will be made upon discharge.
*Not all services may be available at all locations.