At Long Island Laparoscopic Doctors, our expert surgeons perform minimally invasive appendectomy (appendix removal).
What Does the Appendix Do?
The appendix is a small pouch shaped like a tube, and it protrudes from the bottom of the colon at the lower right side of the abdomen. Despite considerable research, scientists are not entirely sure of the purpose of the appendix. When the appendix becomes inflamed or infected, it must be removed to prevent the spread of infection and potential sepsis.
When is Appendectomy Necessary?
If a patient’s appendix has become inflamed (appendicitis), it is necessary to remove the appendix during a surgical procedure called appendectomy. An inflamed appendix may rupture, which is a potentially life-threatening condition.
- Pain in the lower right abdomen or around the navel
- Pain that is worse upon coughing or walking
- Decreased appetite
- Constipation or diarrhea
Preparing for Appendectomy
Appendectomy is an emergency surgical procedure that must be performed within 36 hours of the presentation of appendicitis symptoms in order to prevent sepsis. Thus, there isn’t much a patient can do to prepare for appendectomy.
The Appendectomy Procedure
Appendectomy is performed under general anesthesia, and is performed robotically or laparoscopically when possible. To begin laparoscopic appendectomy, the surgeon makes a number of very small incisions in the abdomen. A tiny camera and specialized surgical instruments will be passed through these holes and the abdomen will be inflated with carbon dioxide. The surgeon secures the appendix with staples, then removes it.
Recovery After Appendectomy
Many of our patients who undergo laparoscopic appendectomy are able to return home the day of their procedure. It is normal to experience mild to moderate pain after appendix removal, but this will improve within days. Patients will be asked to refrain from bathing for a few days, and may need to restrict their diets to clear liquids or bland foods at first.
Frequently Asked Questions About Appendectomy
What are the risks of appendectomy?
Appendectomy is a common surgical procedure, with up to Trusted Source Appendectomy Cleveland Clinic Go to Source 300,000 appendectomies performed every year in the United States. This procedure is generally considered to be safe, but any surgery does carry some risks.
Potential risks and complications of appendectomy are rare and may include:
- Bowel blockage
- Damage to other organs
Will I need an open appendectomy?
Laparoscopic appendix removal affords our patients reduced scarring and a shorter recovery period, but isn’t appropriate for all patients. If your appendix has Trusted Source Appendicitis diagnosis & treatment Mayo Clinic Go to Source ruptured , if infection has set in, or if you have an abscess, the proper course of treatment may be open appendix surgery.
What if my appendix ruptures?
If a patient presents with a ruptured appendix and an abscess, this may be drained by radiology. If the appendix has been infected for several days it may not be safe to operate. These cases are treated with antibiotics and the appendix is removed in 2 months after the inflammation has resolved. This is called an interval appendectomy performed as an outpatient with the robot.
1 Mayo Clinic. Appendicitis symptoms & causes. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/appendicitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369543. Accessed February 16, 2023.
2 Cleveland Clinic. Appendectomy. Available: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/21922-appendectomy. Accessed February 16, 2023.
3 Mayo Clinic. Appendicitis diagnosis & treatment. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/appendicitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20369549. Accessed February 16, 2023.
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