Everything to know about open appendectomy? 

An appendectomy is one of the commonest surgical procedures performed by General Surgeon in Karachi, and it helps to treat the inflammatory condition of the appendix called appendicitis. Commonly, this procedure is performed in emergency situation, under general anesthesia. Read on to know more about this procedure:

What is appendectomy?

An appendectomy is the treatment of choice for treating a condition called appendicitis—the inflammation of appendix. Appendix is a small, tube-shaped outpouching from the cecum or large intestine on the lower right side of the abdomen. The exact function of appendix is not known, however, during an acute infection the inflamed appendix can burst and risk peritonitis—inflammation of the abdominal lining. To treat an inflamed appendix, healthcare providers recommend removing it surgically. 

What are the signs and symptoms of appendicitis?

The signs and symptoms of appendicitis that warrant appendectomy include:

  • Naval pain that shifts or radiates to the right iliac fossa 
  • Pain around the belly button 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fever 
  • Loss of appetite 

What are the types of appendectomies?

There are two types of appendectomies:

  • Laparoscopic appendectomy: this is a minimally invasive surgery, without making a large incision on the abdomen. These days, this procedure is more commonly performed than open appendectomy. Laparoscopic appendectomy makes recovery easier, is less painful for the patient and can help the patient get discharged earlier. In comparison to open procedure, the infection rates of laparoscopic appendectomy are lower.  

For laparoscopic procedure, one to three small incisions are made on the skin, and a laparoscope (tube with a camera at the end) is inserted into the abdomen to view the inflamed appendix. This appendix is then cut with cutting tools, and removed from the body. The incisions are thereafter stitched close. 

  • Open appendectomy: this is the conventional surgery for appendicitis. This procedure involves an incision on the lower right side of the abdomen to manually remove the appendix. This type of surgery is preferable if the appendix has burst or there is risk of it. Open appendectomy allows the surgeon to clean the abdominal cavity in case the appendix has ruptured. This procedure is also preferable if the patient has history of abdominal surgery in the past, as adhesions form in the abdomen after surgery. 

What are the risks of appendectomy?

As with any surgery, appendectomy also has its own risks, such as:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Bleeding 
  • Wound infection 
  • Complications of anesthesia 
  • Blood clots that can travel to the lungs 
  • Injury to the nearby organs during the procedure 
  • Peritonitis or inflammation of the abdominal wall 

Following the surgery, the following symptoms should be watched out for:

  • Persistent cough 
  • Fever and chills 
  • Drainage at the incision site 
  • Discoloration or swelling at the wound site 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Continuous nausea or vomiting 
  • Inability to urinate 

What is the recovery time of appendectomy?

The recovery time is dependent on the severity of appendicitis. However, most patients go home one to two days after open appendectomy, barring any complication. In case of laparoscopic appendectomy, it is safe, according to research data to release the patient on the same day. Even on same day discharge, the rate of readmissions and complications is low. 

Patients with ruptured appendix who are operated on, need to stay longer in the hospital and receive intravenous antibiotics to fight the abdominal infections. These patients are observed during their stay in the hospital for signs of complications. 

How to make better recovery after appendectomy?

Appendectomy recovery tips include:

  • Following the instructions of the healthcare provider when it comes to wound care and follow-up. 
  • Checking the wound for signs of inflammation or foul-smelling discharge. 
  • Increasing water intake and stool softeners in case of constipation, secondary to narcotic pain killers. 
  • Following the procedure, the patient should not life heavy objects for at least one week after laparoscopic appendectomy and two weeks of open appendectomy. 
  • For any instance of high-grade fever, or severe pain expert help should be sought from General Surgeon in Islamabad

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