Department of

Gastroenterology - Appendectomy

Department of

Gastroenterology - Appendectomy


Appendectomy or Appendicectomy in simple words is the surgical procedure to remove the appendix from the human body.

The long intestine is connected to a tiny, tube-shaped pouch called the appendix. The abdomen’s bottom right side is its location. It is believed that it might aid in the recovery from intestinal infections, inflammation, and diarrhoea. Although these might seem like vital activities, it has been proven that the body can nonetheless operate normally without an appendix too.

In most scenarios, appendectomy is performed for the treatment of acute appendicitis because if left untreated the bacteria would multiply rapidly causing formation of puss and eventually the appendix would burst (perforated appendix) causing various complications hence involving the need of immediate and emergency medical assistance. Appendectomy can be performed both by laparoscopy or by operating under a large incision.

Why is appendectomy performed – Any number of gastrointestinal tract infections, including those brought on by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, can result in appendicitis. A blockage or obstruction of the tube connecting your large intestine and appendix may also result in this condition. These conditions finally result in the appendix being bloated and painful. If left untreated the appendix gets inflamed and bursts out secreting puss and toxic substances in the abdominal cavity which is life threatening. The most feasible solution to eradicate this complication is by performing surgery to remove the appendix itself. In some cases where a person cannot undergo surgery then various other medicines are suggested but it is not a permanent solution as it always poses a risk of acquiring appendicitis anytime again in the future.

How is it performed – The doctor diagnosing the problem would first suggest other tests such as starting with a physical examination by applying gentle pressure on the abdomen and analyzing the abdominal muscles and it’s stiffness. Other tests include blood tests (to determine the high white blood cell count indicating an infection), digital rectal examination, urine analysis (to check for urinary tract infections and renal calculi) and other imaging tests such as CT scan, X-ray and MRI to rule out other possibilities. Pregnant women would need to undergo a pelvic examination to rule out other gynaecological issues causing the pain.

To remove the appendix, there are two types of surgery. Open appendectomy, which is the conventional procedure. A laparoscopic appendectomy, which is a more recent and minimally invasive technique.

Open appendectomy – A single incision is made in the lower right side of the belly by the surgeon during an open appendectomy. The appendix is removed, and if the appendix has ruptured, this surgery enables the doctor to clean the abdominal cavity. Post that the wound is stitched and closed safely.

Instances where the appendix has ruptured and the infection has spread to other organs, even then the doctor can decide to perform an open appendectomy. Additionally, it’s the ideal choice for those who have already undergone abdominal surgery.

Laparoscopic appendectomy  – The patient’s abdomen will be made larger by passing carbon dioxide gas in the abdominal cavity to make it easier to examine the appendix and other internal organs.

A laparoscope will be then introduced via the incision once the abdomen has been inflated. A high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera are located at the front of the laparoscope, which is a long, thin tube. The surgeon can see into the belly and direct the tools by looking at the images the camera produces on a screen. The appendix will be located and removed after being tied off with stitches. Next, the tiny incisions are cleansed, stitched up, and dressed. The carbon dioxide gas is parallel released through a tubular structure which was inserted in the abdomen.

Post surgery – If it is a small surgery the patient would be sent home the same day itself accompanied by a guardian or a family member as the patient would still have some effects of anaesthesia which makes it absolutely risky to drive. If it’s an open surgery and depending upon the case the patient might be admitted and kept under observation for a day or two before discharging.

You can have some pain in the initial days after the appendectomy where incisions were made. Any soreness or pain should disappear within a few days. In order to treat the pain, your doctor could recommend medication. Antibiotics may also be recommended to avoid an infection following surgery. By keeping the incisions clean, you can further lower your chance of contracting an infection.

There could be mild pain in the abdominal region due to the incisions or due to the little carbon dioxide remaining in the belly. This should eventually reduce day by day while taking the prescribed medications and painkillers on the designated intervals. The doctor would also suggest walking day by day a little by little.

Any surgical staples or stitches will be taken out during a subsequent appointment visit. If adhesive strips were applied, it is best to keep them dry. They will generally fall off in a few days.

Related Links