Surgical removal of appendix is medically termed Appendectomy. This is a common emergency surgery which is performed as treatment for an inflammatory condition of appendix known as appendicitis. Appendix is a very small tube-shaped vestibule pouch attached to large intestine in the lower right side of the abdomen. Real purpose of the appendix in humans is still unknown.
Why Undergo Appendectomy? Appendectomy mostly is an emergency procedure performed for removal of an infected, inflamed & swollen appendix. This condition is medically termed appendicitis. Infection of the appendix usually occurs when opening of appendix gets clogged with bacteria & stool. Removal of appendix is then the easy & the quickest way to treat appendicitis. Appendix would burst if it is left untreated. Immediate & effective treatment is therefore required. Bacteria & fecal matter within appendix can spread into the abdomen when ruptured & lead to serious infection known as peritonitis. Developing an abscess is also a possibility in appendix ruptures. Both these situations are life-threatening & therefore require immediate surgical intervention.
Signs & Symptoms of Appendicitis The main sign & symptom of appendicitis is stomach pain which starts suddenly near the navel & spreads to the lower right side of abdomen. Other symptoms may include the following.
- Abdominal swelling
- Rigid abdominal muscles
- Low-grade fever
- Loss of appetite
- Constipation or diarrhea
Laparoscopic Appendectomy The surgeon will access the appendix through a few small incisions made in the abdomen during laparoscopic appendectomy. Following this a cannula is inserted & utilized to inflate the abdomen region with carbon dioxide gas in order to allow the surgeon to clearly see the appendix. Following this the laparoscope is inserted through the incision which carries a high-resolution camera at the front. This camera will display images on skin which will enable the surgeon see the insides of the abdomen & expertly guide the tiny specialized instruments which are inserted through other small keyhole incisions. The appendix is then cut off & removed. The laparoscope & surgical tools are removed & small incisions cleaned, stitched & dressed. Laparoscopic surgery is one of the best options for older adults & for people who are obese & overweight. Laparoscopic surgery has fewer risks when compared to open appendectomy operation & also requires a shorter time for recovery. Recovery Following Laparoscopic Appendectomy Patients can go back home the same day following laparoscopic appendectomy. However, a friend or family member will have to drive you back home because it takes several hours for general anesthesia to wear off. This can eventually make driving unsafe for the patient. During recovery at home patients can feel moderate pain where incisions were made. This pain or discomfort would generally improve within a few days time. Doctors may also prescribe medications to relieve pain & antibiotics for preventing infection following laparoscopic appendectomy. Most patients following laparoscopic appendectomy recover with little difficulty. Full recovery following surgery can take 10-20 days when you can get back to work & resume routine activities. Until then the doctor probably will recommend that you limit physical activity & allow the body to heal. A follow-up appointment with the doctor is also recommended 2-3 weeks following laparoscopic appendectomy.