Appendix Surgery


An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. It’s a common emergency surgery that’s performed to treat appendicitis, an inflammatory condition of the appendix.


The appendix is a small, tube-shaped pouch attached to your large intestine. It’s located in the lower right side of your abdomen. The exact purpose of the appendix isn’t known. However, it’s believed that it may help us recover from diarrhea, inflammation, and infections of the small and large intestines. These may sound like important functions, but the body can still function properly without an appendix.


When the appendix becomes inflamed and swollen, bacteria can quickly multiply inside the organ and lead to the formation of pus. This buildup of bacteria and pus can cause pain around the belly button that spreads to the lower right section of the abdomen. Walking or coughing can make the pain worse. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.


It’s important to seek treatment right away if you’re having symptoms of appendicitis. When the condition goes untreated, the appendix can burst (perforated appendix) and release bacteria and other harmful substances into the abdominal cavity. This can be life-threatening, and will lead to a longer hospital stay.


Appendectomy is the standard treatment for appendicitis. It’s crucial to remove the appendix right away, before the appendix can rupture. Once an appendectomy is performed, most people recover quickly and without complications.


How Is an Appendectomy Performed?

There are two types of appendectomy: open and laparoscopic. The type of surgery your doctor chooses depends on several factors, including the severity of your appendicitis and your medical history.



Open Appendectomy

During an open appendectomy, a surgeon makes one incision in the lower right side of your abdomen. Your appendix is removed and the wound is closed with stiches. This procedure allows your doctor to clean the abdominal cavity if your appendix has burst.
Your doctor may choose an open appendectomy if your appendix has ruptured and the infection has spread to other organs. It’s also the preferred option for people who have had abdominal surgery in the past.



Laparoscopic Appendectomy

During a laparoscopic appendectomy, a surgeon accesses the appendix through a few small incisions in your abdomen. A small, narrow tube called a cannula will then be inserted. The cannula is used to inflate your abdomen with carbon dioxide gas. This gas allows the surgeon to see your appendix more clearly.

Once the abdomen is inflated, an instrument called a laparoscope will be inserted through the incision. The laparoscope is a long, thin tube with a high-intensity light and a high-resolution camera at the front. The camera will display the images on a screen, allowing the surgeon to see inside your abdomen and guide the instruments. When the appendix is found, it will be tied off with stiches and removed. The small incisions are then cleaned, closed, and dressed.

Laparoscopic surgery is usually the best option for older adults and people who are overweight. It has fewer risks than an open appendectomy procedure, and generally has a shorter recovery time.