Appendectomy Surgery Definition

Appendectomy is a surgical operation to remove an inflamed or infected appendix. The conventional open procedure involves making an incision two to three inches long in the lower right abdomen. Open appendectomy typically requires two or three days of hospitalization and four to six weeks for full recovery.

A laparoscopy appendectomy requires a shorter hospital stay and is a more rapid recovery.

For a laparoscopic appendectomy, the surgeon makes four or five small incisions (about 1⁄2 inch in length).Through one of the incisions the surgeon inserts the laparoscope, a flexible lighted tube. Through the other incisions the surgeon inserts special instruments.

Laparoscopic surgery often requires only an overnight stay in the hospital, with return to normal activities in three to four weeks.

Laparoscopic appendectomy is the operation of choice for most circumstances of simple appendicitis in which inflammation and infection remain confined to the appendix and the diagnosis is clear-cut. The surgeon may choose to convert a laparoscopic to an open procedure should there be any complicating factors once the surgery begins.

Appendectomy Risks and Complications

Risks of appendectomy, open or laparoscopic, include leakage of intestinal content into the peritoneal cavity, which can result in peritonitis, or postoperative abscess (pocket of infection). To safeguard against these complications, postoperative care includes intravenous antibiotic medications during the hospital stay and a course of oral antibiotics following hospital discharge.

As with any surgery, reaction to anesthesia and bleeding during or after the operation are also risks.

Full recovery after appendectomy for simple appendicitis is the norm, with most people returning to their usual activities within six weeks (up to eight weeks for strenuous physical activity such as competitive sports).


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