When is an appendix surgery needed?
Appendix surgery is needed when an infection is formed in the appendix making it swell and inflame. An infection makes the appendix clogged with stool and bacteria which leads to abnormal functioning of the appendix.
Surgery is considered to be the fastest and the most effective way to remove the defective appendix. To prevent the appendix from bursting, doctors often recommend surgery. Symptoms of appendix that warrant surgery are:
- severe stomach pain
- pain that starts near the belly button and spreads to the right abdomen
- swelling in the abdomen
- nausea and vomiting
- loss of appetite
- diarrhoea or constipation
What is appendectomy? Are there any risks and complications of appendectomy?
The surgical approach of removal of the appendix is known as appendectomy. It is a very common surgery and is performed for appendicitis, the condition in which the appendix gets inflamed and infected. Appendectomy is the quickest way to provide relief from appendicitis symptoms.
Appendectomy can be performed in two ways - open and laparoscopic. The surgical approach is defined by the doctor after considering factors like the patient's medical history and severity of the condition.
Open appendectomy - In this procedure, the surgeon makes an open incision on the left side of the abdomen and removes the appendix through it. Once done, the surgeon closes the incision with stitches. This process is mostly performed in case of a burst or ruptured appendix.
Laparoscopic appendectomy - In laparoscopic appendectomy, the surgeon makes a few tiny incisions in the abdomen and inserts a narrow, thin tube that has a camera attached to it. The camera displays the images inside the abdomen on a screen. With the visuals, the doctor guides the laparoscopic instruments to the appendix. The surgeon ties the appendix and removes it and then closes the incisions. Laparoscopic surgery for the appendix is suggested for people who are overweight or the ones who cannot afford to spend a long time recovering.
Both forms of appendectomy are safe and create no complications for the patient. However, some side effects that may occur after appendectomy are:
- bowel movement that is not clear
- injury to the nearby organs
But, if the surgery is performed at the hands of an experienced surgeon, these complications or risks are not likely to occur.
What are the advantages of laparoscopic surgery for appendicitis?
Every case of appendicitis is different from each other and hence the recovery results may vary depending on many factors. But there are a few universal benefits of laparoscopic surgery for appendicitis that make it the most preferable treatment. The advantages are:
- Short stay at the hospital
- No pain after the surgery
- Quicker recovery after the surgery
- No scars on the surgical site
Is appendix surgery painful?
Like any other surgery, appendix surgery too might feel a little painful and discomforting. The pain is absolutely normal and goes away in a few days time. In many cases, the pain might spread from the abdomen to the other nearby parts of the body, but there is nothing to fret about unless the pain is unbearable. In a normal scenario, the pain disappears within 2-4 days.
To relieve the pain, the doctor may recommend you taking pain-killers and antibiotics. Make sure not to take any medicine without the recommendation of the doctor. Many people recover after the surgery without taking any pain medicines. In case your pain and discomfort continue for more than a week, you should consult your doctor without any delay.
When to consult a doctor after laparoscopic appendix surgery?
Usually, a patient does not feel the need to follow-up or consult a doctor after laparoscopic appendix surgery because the process is completely safe. In any case, you experience any of the following symptoms, make sure to call the doctor.
- Severe pain in the surgical site
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Fever over 101 degrees that last for more than 2 days
- Trouble passing bowel movements
- Persistent cough and trouble breathing
- Redness and itching in the surgical site
Tips for healthy recovery after laparoscopic appendectomy
Recovery after a laparoscopic appendectomy is usually hassle-free. But the time taken for complete recovery may differ from individual to individual. Here are a few tips you can follow to ensure a smooth and healthy recovery.
- Take ample rest. Surgery disturbs the body's natural response and hence it is necessary to allow the body some time to heal.
- Follow your medication chart without fail. Missing the medicines could mean slowing the healing process of the body. To avoid this, follow your doctor’s advice about the medications.
- Get back to physical activities gradually. When you feel that your body is ready for some physical movement, start it slow. Do not indulge in any strenuous activities at once.