Laparoscopic Appendectomy

infected appendix

What is Appendix?

Appendix is a tubular organ which arises from the base of the cecum in the right lower part of the abdomen. The appendix is partly responsible to help fight infection in the body. Its function, however, is not essential. People who have had their appendix removed do not have an increased risk of infection.

What is Acute appendicitis?

The appendix has a pronesity to get inflamed and infected especially if its mouth gets obstructed with a fecolith. This leads to severe pain which initially is nonspecific and generalized but later gets localized to the right lower part of the abdomen. Patients should urgently report to the doctor as complications can happen if treatment is delayed.

What is a Laparoscopic Appendectomy?

When the appendix get inflamed or infected it should be removed. This traditionally was done by open surgery, however now it is performed by laparoscopy ( key hole Surgery). In most laparoscopic appendectomies, surgeons operate through 3 small incisions (each ¼ to ½ inch) while watching an enlarged image of the patient’s internal organs on a television monitor.

What are the Advantages of Laparoscopic Appendectomy?

Results may vary depending upon the type of procedure and patient’s overall condition. Common advantages are:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Earlier return of bowel function
  • Earlier return to normal activity
  • Better cosmetic results
  • Less chances of wound infection
  • Other associated pathology can be picked up

How is a Laparoscopic Appendectomy Performed?

For laparoscopic appendectomies a cannula (a narrow tube-like instrument) is used by the surgeon to enter the abdomen. A laparoscope (a tiny telescope connected to a video camera) is inserted through a cannula, giving the surgeon a magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a television monitor. Several other cannulas are inserted to allow the surgeon to work inside and remove the appendix. The entire procedure may be completed through the cannulas or by lengthening one of the small cannula incisions. A drain may be placed during the procedure. This will be removed later by your surgeon.

What Complications Can Occur?

As with any operation, there are risks of complications. The risk is similar irrespective of whether the operation is done by the laparoscopic method or the open conventinal method. Some of the common complications are as follows

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • A leak at the edge of the colon where the appendix was removed
  • Injury to adjacent organs such as the small intestine, ureter, or bladder
  • Blood clots the deep veins in your legs that may travel to your lungs

It is important for you to recognize the early signs of possible complications. Contact your surgeon if you have severe abdominal pain, fever, chills or rectal bleeding

What Happens if the Operation Cannot Be Performed or Completed by the Laparoscopic Method?

In a small number of patients it is not possible to complete the surgery by the laparoscopic method, because of the inability to visualize or handle the organs effectively or if there have been complications such as perforation abscess formation or the patient is not fit for laparoscopy or not tolerating the laparoscopy. If your surgeon feels that it is safest to convert the laparoscopic procedure to an open one, this is not a complication, but rather sound surgical judgment. Factors that may lead to the possibility of converting to the “open” procedure are as follows :

  • Extensive infection and/or abscess
  • A perforated appendix
  • Obesity
  • A history of prior abdominal surgery causing dense scar tissue
  • Inability to visualize organs
  • Bleeding problems during the operation

This list is not exhaustive.

When to Call Your Doctor

Be sure to call your physician or surgeon if you develop any of the following:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Bleeding
  • Increasing abdominal swelling
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting
  • Chills
  • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from any incision
  • Redness surrounding any of your incisions that is worsening or getting bigger
  • You are unable to eat or drink liquids
laparoscopic appendectomy