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Related Media: Appendectomy
An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix. The appendix is a pouch that is attached to the large intestine.
An appendectomy is often done as an emergency procedure to treat
appendicitis. Appendicitis is inflammation of the appendix. It can be caused by an infection or obstruction.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Some risk factors that make complications more likely include:
Your doctor may do the following:
Antibiotics will be started right away. Appendicitis is an emergency condition. Surgery is almost always done right away.
will be used. You will be asleep during the procedure.
A short incision will be made in the right lower abdomen. The doctor will be able to see the appendix through this cut. The appendix will be detached from surrounding tissue. The surgeon will stop any bleeding from blood vessels. The appendix will then be tied off and cut out. The incisions will then be closed with stitches or staples.
If the appendix has ruptured, a warm water solution mixed with antibiotics will be used to wash out the inside of the abdomen. A catheter will then be placed to drain any fluid that builds up. Sometimes, with a rupture, the surgeon will only close the muscle layers and leave the skin open. The open skin wound will then be packed with a moist gauze dressing.
The removed tissue is examined by a pathologist.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
You may be in the hospital for up to three days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
If your appendix ruptured, drainage tubes will be removed after a few days.
Recovery takes about 4-6 weeks.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Surgeons
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Canadian Family Physician
Appendectomy. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/gastroenterology/appendectomy_92,P07686. Accessed December 13, 2013.
Appendectomy. Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgery/appendectomy.html. Updated March 2013. Accessed December 13, 2013.
Appendicitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 21, 2013. Accessed December 13, 2013.
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Last reviewed December 13, 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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