Laparoscopic Appendectomy – Definition, Purpose , Procedure & Risks
Appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. The appendix is a worm-shaped hollow pouch attached to the cecum, the beginning of the large intestine.
Appendectomies are performed to treat appendicitis, an inflamed and infected appendix.
There are 2 types of surgery to remove the appendix. The standard method is an open appendectomy. A newer, less invasive method is a laparoscopic appendectomy.
Open appendectomy. A cut or incision about 2 to 4 inches long is made in the lower right-hand side of your belly or abdomen. The appendix is taken out through the incision.
Laparoscopic appendectomy. This method is less invasive. That means it’s done without a large incision. Instead, from 1 to 3 tiny cuts are made. A long, thin tube called a laparoscope is put into one of the incisions. It has a tiny video camera and surgical tools. The surgeon looks at a TV monitor to see inside your abdomen and guide the tools. The appendix is removed through one of the incisions.
During a laparoscopic surgery, your provider may decide that an open appendectomy is needed.
If your appendix has burst and infection has spread, you may need an open appendectomy.
A laparoscopic appendectomy may cause less pain and scarring than an open appendectomy. For either type of surgery, the scar is often hard to see once it has healed.
Both types of surgery have low risk of complications. A laparoscopic appendectomy has a shorter hospital stay, shorter recovery time, and lower infection rates.
Recently, some studies have suggested that intravenous antibiotics alone could cure appendicitis without the need for appendectomy. These results remain controversial and appendectomy remains the standard of care.
Why might I need an appendectomy?
You may need an appendectomy to remove your appendix if you show symptoms of appendicitis.
Appendicitis is a medical emergency. It is when your appendix becomes sore, swollen, and infected.
If you have appendicitis, there is a serious risk your appendix may burst or rupture. This can happen as soon as 48 to 72 hours after you have symptoms. It can cause a severe, life-threatening infection called peritonitis in your belly.
If you have appendicitis symptoms, seek medical care right away.
Some possible complications of an appendectomy include:
Infection and redness and swelling (inflammation) of the belly that can occur if the appendix bursts during surgery (peritonitis)
Injury to nearby organs
You may have other risks that are unique to you. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before surgery..
Most patients feel better immediately after an operation for appendicitis. Many patients are discharged from the hospital within 24 hours after the appendectomy. Others may require a longer stay, from three to five days. Almost all patients are back to their normal activities within three weeks.