Dr. Kolachalam, Appendectomy
What is a Laparoscopic Appendectomy?
- It is is the surgical removal of your appendix through small incisions.
- The Appendix is a tube about six inches long or less that branches off the large intestine.
Why do I need this procedure?
- The procedure is performed to treat appendicitis, an inflammation of the appendix caused by infection.
- Because of the risk of rupture, which may occur as soon as 48 to 72 hours after symptoms begin, appendicitis is considered an emergency and anyone with symptoms needs to see a doctor immediately.
- Because of the likelihood of the appendix rupturing and causing a severe, life-threatening infection, the usual recommendation is that the appendix be removed as soon as possible.
- Acute appendicitis is the most common condition of the abdomen to require emergency surgery.
What causes Appendicitis?
- Appendicitis occurs when the interior of the appendix becomes filled with something that causes it to swell, such as mucus, bacteria, foreign body, stool, or parasites. The appendix then becomes irritated and inflamed.
- Rupture (or perforation) occurs as holes develop in the walls of the appendix, allowing stool, mucus, and other substances to leak through and get inside the abdomen.
- An infection inside the abdomen known as peritonitis occurs when the appendix perforates.
What are some symptoms I should look for?
- Appendicitis may cause pain in the abdomen which may be described as follows:
- May start in the area around the belly button, and move over to the lower right-hand side of the abdomen, but may also start in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen
- Usually increases in severity as time passes
- May become more severe with moving, taking deep breaths, being touched, and coughing or sneezing
- May spread throughout the abdomen if the appendix ruptures
- Other symptoms of appendicitis include, but are not limited to, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and chills, constipation, diarrhea, inability to pass gas, and abdominal swelling.
- The symptoms of appendicitis may resemble other medical conditions or problems. In addition, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
**It is important that people with symptoms of appendicitis not take laxatives or enemas to relieve constipation, as these medications and procedures can cause the appendix to burst. In addition, pain medication should be avoided, as this can mask other symptoms.
Two Surgical Techniques:
- The Open method involves making a two- to three-inch incision in the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. The surgeon locates the appendix and removes it through the incision.
- The Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgical technique involves making three tiny cuts in the abdomen and inserting a miniature camera and surgical instruments.
- The surgeon then removes the appendix with the instruments, so there is usually no need to make a large incision in the abdomen.
- The camera projects a magnified image of the area onto a television monitor which helps guide the surgeons as they remove the appendix.
- During a laparoscopic appendectomy, your doctor may decide that an open appendectomy is needed.
A laparoscopic appendectomy may cause less pain and scarring than an open appendectomy, although even for open appendectomy, the scar is often hard to see once it has healed. Open and laparoscopic techniques are thought to be comparable in terms of low rates of complications. However, length of hospital stay, length of overall recovery, and infection rates are reportedly lower with laparoscopic appendectomy. *View the video below to help you gain a visual understanding of these procedures and visualize how appendicitis occurs. Write down any concerns and questions you may have. Please bring these notes with you so we can address your concerns entirely.