Laparoscopic Surgery for Appendicitis


Appendicitis is a very common problem among people of all ages and surgery for removal of the appendix is very commonly done procedure. The appendix is a tiny tube-shaped sac that produces immunoglobulins, a protein that destroys bacteria and helps the body to fight infection.

The appendix is not an essential part of the body, and even when it is removed, other organs start to take over its function. Sometimes, when an appendix gets infected, it needs to be removed through an incision in the right lower abdominal wall, also known as a laparoscopic appendectomy.

Surgeons usually make 3 small incisions, each ¼ to ½ inchlong, and inserting a laparoscopic device into the patient’s abdomen, while performing a laparoscopic appendectomy. The laparoscope displays an image of the patient’s internal organs onto the screen of a television. Sometimes, surgeons may make incisions that are 2 or 3 inches long to complete the surgery.

Benefits of Laparoscopic Appendectomies

Usually patients opt for laparoscopic surgery for appendicitis for the following reasons:

The hospital stay is comparatively shorter than traditional procedures
Postoperative pain is lesser
Patients may return to normal activity quicker
Patients may have regular bowel function more quickly
This type of surgery produces better cosmetic results

Candidacy for laparoscopic appendectomies

Laparoscopic appendectomies may be have several benefits for most patients, but aren’t recommended for some. For instance, laparoscopic appendectomies may be used for those patients whose appendicitis has been detected early on and their appendix hasn’t rupture yet. However, in the case of a patient whose appendix is already ruptured or is suffering from advanced infection, laparoscopic appendectomy may not be the answer. In such a case, a traditional open procedure may be recommended, wherein a larger incision is made to successfully remove the infected appendix in such patients.

About the Procedure

‘Open’ and ‘laparoscopic’ are terms that refer to the techniques chosen by the surgeon to access the site of the internal surgery. Usually, laparoscopic appendectomies begin in the same manner that traditional appendicitis surgeries start in.

The surgeon enters the abdomen using a narrow tube-like instrument, called a cannula. Next, the surgeon inserts a tiny telescope which is connected to a video camera, called a laparoscope, through the cannula. This allows the surgeon to have a clear and magnified view of the patient’s internal organs on a screen.

The surgeon then enters a few other cannulas so that they may work to remove the infected appendix effectively. In most cases, the surgery is completed through the cannulas, or by extending the length of one of the tiny cannula incisions. During the procedure, a drain may be placed, which is taken out before the patient leaves the hospital.

Postoperative Care For Laparoscopic Appendectomy

Patients who have just had a laparoscopic appendectomy should follow the instructions of their surgeon to the tee. It is critical to allow the site of the surgery to heal completely before any rigorous activity is resumed.

Most patients are encouraged to walk around the day after surgery to help ease the soreness in the muscles and ameliorate the risk of blood clots. Patients may resume their normal activities like driving, showering, walking up stairs, and working in one or two weeks.

Patients should contact their doctor if they are getting no relief from the pain medication that has been prescribed to them and they are experiencing a continued soreness or tenderness in the area. A follow-up appointment must be scheduled a week or two after the procedure.

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