What is an Appendectomy?
The appendix is a small organ connected to the large bowel (also known as large intestine). An appendectomy is defined as a surgical procedure in which the appendix is completely removed.
When is an Appendectomy necessary?
Surgical removal of the appendix is performed when the organ is perforated, leaking, infected or inflamed. The most common reason why the appendix is removed is appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix).
Appendicitis symptoms include:
- Painful Abdomen (mild to severe pain is typically experienced)
- Mild Fever
- Vomiting or Nausea
- Decreased Appetite
Because appendicitis can be a life-threatening condition, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical help if you experience any of these symptoms. Your doctor can perform the necessary tests to determine whether you may be suffering from appendicitis.
Appendicitis is usually diagnosed with the following:
- Examination of the abdomen and rectum
- Blood Work
- CT Scan
An appendectomy can be performed using spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia. With spinal anesthesia, anesthetic drugs are injected into the spinal area, making you numb from your waist down. With general anesthesia, you will be completely anesthetized during the entire procedure.
In order to remove your appendix, the surgeon will make an incision in the right side of your abdomen. Today, laparoscopic appendectomy is also an option; the minimally invasive surgical procedure is performed by making a few small incisions rather than one larger incision. A small camera is inserted through the incisions along with the surgical instruments. An enlarged image of the inside of the abdomen is displayed on a video screen to guide the surgeon throughout the procedure.
Risks and Complications
With the advanced technology that is available today, surgery is safer than ever. However, like with all surgical procedures, an appendectomy also involves certain risks. Though rare, possible risks include a bad reaction to anesthesia or medication, excess bleeding, infection, rupturing of the appendix and breathing problems.
What to Expect After Surgery
Most patients enjoy a rapid recovery and are able to leave the hospital 1 or 2 days after the operation. Patients can usually return to their regular activities 2 to 4 weeks after the surgery. A laparoscopic appendectomy would require a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery with less pain.
An appendectomy performed in time can save your life. Bay Surgical Specialists offers various surgical services which include both traditional and laparoscopic appendectomy.