An appendix is a tube-like structure which is four meters long and sits in the lower right abdomen. It is vulnerable to infection as it is close to the large intestine where stool, bacteria, and other infectious material is accumulated.
What is an appendectomy?
An appendectomy is simply the removal of the appendix using a surgery. An appendectomy is recommended by a doctor when the patient is diagnosed with appendicitis. Appendicitis is a condition in which the appendix is infected and causes extreme pain.
Why an appendectomy is needed?
Doctors consider appendicitis as a medical emergency as the appendix can burst and cause the infection to enter the abdominal cavity.
If the appendix bursts, then doctors prescribe antibiotics that can contain the infection and prevent it from spreading in the whole cavity. Surgery is the most effective treatment for treating an infected appendix. Doctors recommend appendectomy in normal people in order to avoid rupture of the appendix at a later stage.
Appendicitis causes pain around the navel region which can extend up to the lower right section of the abdomen. Some other signs and symptoms of appendicitis are-
- You will feel a loss of appetite
- You will have frequent urge to urinate
- You might have a fever
- You will feel nauseated
- You will feel like vomiting
- You will feel pain while urinating
How is an appendectomy performed?
Doctors usually perform a laparoscopic appendectomy. Also known as key-hole surgery, the laparoscopic method is a much more successful method than “open” surgeries. Laparoscopic surgeries can be done under general or local anesthesia. Local anesthesia numbs the area to be operated and hence the patient will be awake throughout the procedure.
- During laparoscopic treatment, the surgeon makes an incision below the navel and then inserts a thin tube into the cavity called a cannula.
- Through the cannula, the abdomen is inflated with carbon dioxide gas which allows a doctor to see abdominal organs more clearly.
- After inflating the abdomen, the surgeon inserts the laparoscope through the incision.
- The camera attached to the laparoscope displays the images on a screen, allowing the abdominal organs to be viewed in real time.
- After the procedure is done, the gas is let out of the abdominal cavity. After the surgical instruments are removed, the incisions are then closed with absorbable sutures, stitches or surgical tape.
Usually, the surgeon makes one to four incisions that are each between 0.5-1 centimeter in length. These incisions allow other instruments to be inserted. If a surgeon is unable to look at the appendix properly during laparoscopic surgery, then doctors go for “open” surgery.
How to prepare for an appendectomy?
As an appendectomy is carried out on an emergency basis, therefore there’s little time left for preparation. However, your doctor might ask you to take the following precautions-
- Don’t eat anything for at least 8 hours before the surgery. This prevents the contents of the stomach to enter into the lungs. An empty stomach helps the doctor to see the abdominal cavity.
- Certain medications should be avoided before surgery.
How to recover after an appendectomy?
The recovery after the surgery depends on the technique used and the health condition of the patient. After a laparoscopic procedure, you may be discharged on the same day after a few hours of thorough monitoring. But after open surgery, you need to stay back for a few days. After laparoscopic surgery, you can resume your normal activities within 2-3 days but full recovery is ensured only after 4-6 weeks.
The doctor might recommend you to follow the instructions to ensure a smooth and fast recovery-
- Avoid lifting heavy weights for a week after surgery
- Wash the hands with soap before touching the incision site
- Regularly check the bandages for signs of infection
- Don’t wear tight clothes that would rub against the wounds
- Hold a pillow over the stomach before coughing or sneezing
If you are wondering whether there will be health effects or not after the removal of the appendix, then let me assure you there are no long-term harmful effects after an appendectomy. After a laparoscopic appendectomy, there is a very slim chance of any complication. You should consult our doctor from Pristyn Care if you want to know more about the surgery. Our doctors are highly-skilled as well as experienced in providing the best laparoscopic procedures for an appendectomy.