What do you understand by appendicitis, and what does it do?
What is Appendix?
The appendix is a narrow, tube-shaped organ that is attached to the opening of the large intestine or colon. A few centimetres long, it is present in the lower right side of the abdomen below the navel where the large and small intestines connect. It is a vestigial organ which can be removed from the body without affecting its proper functioning. When it gets inflamed and swollen, it can result in serious health problems.
What is Appendicitis?
Appendicitis is the inflammation and swelling of the appendix which may be caused by an obstruction or blockage in its opening. When the appendix gets infected, the bacteria multiply quickly, leading to the formation of pus inside the organ which causes pain that begins around the navel and travels to the lower right part of the abdomen. The pain may worsen or severe when pressed on the area or while coughing or walking. One may also experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Therefore, when the appendix becomes infected, it needs to be removed as soon as possible. If not treated promptly, the appendix may rupture leading to a life threatening or fatal infection.
What is Appendectomy?
Appendicectomy or appendectomy is a surgery to remove the infected appendix in order to treat the appendicitis condition. It is a common surgery to get the appendix removed. There are two ways or types of surgery to remove the appendix, namely open appendectomy and laparoscopic appendectomy. Open appendectomy is the standard method wherein a large cut or incision is made on the right-hand side of the abdomen to remove the appendix, taken out through incision. Laparoscopic appendectomy on the other hand, is the less invasive procedure wherein small incisions or cuts are made to remove the appendix.
Laparoscopic Appendectomy Procedure
In case of laparoscopic appendectomy, a general anaesthesia is administered so that the patient will not feel any pain. A few small incisions or cuts are made in the abdomen to access the appendix. A cannula or small tube is inserted which fills carbon dioxide gas in the abdomen to inflate or create space for surgery. This is followed by an insertion of a long and narrow instrument called laparoscope (high-intensity light and high-resolution camera) through the incision. The camera displays the surgery on a screen in the operating room guiding the instruments. When the appendix is found, it is disconnected and removed through the incisions which is then cleaned, closed and dressed. In case of a ruptured appendix, excessive bleeding or accumulated pus, a small plastic tube is used to drain the fluid from the surgical area, which can be removed in 3-7 days depending upon the patient’s progress post-surgery.
After the laparoscopic appendectomy is performed, the doctors and nurses will observe and monitor the patient’s vital signs for several hours. The patient may leave the hospital on the very day of the surgery or may have to stay longer in the hospital, which the doctor will decide. However, when the patient will get discharged will depend on the overall health condition, the type of appendectomy performed and the body’s response to the surgery.
Post-surgery, you may experience discomfort or moderate pain in the abdomen and in the incision areas. To relieve the pain, the doctor may also prescribe you pain relievers and antibiotics to prevent infection post-surgery. In order to avoid infection, one should clean the incision areas.
Advantages of Laparoscopic Appendectomy
Laparoscopic appendectomy has certain advantages over open appendectomy such as:
- Patient experiences less discomfort post-surgery as it has fewer risks compared to an open appendectomy procedure.
- Unlike open surgery which requires a large cut in the abdomen, laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and requires smaller incisions and hence smaller scars.
- Patients can resume back their normal activities quickly as laparoscopic surgery takes a shorter recovery time and heals quickly.
- With only a few incisions, patients can be discharged from the hospital shortly after the surgery unless there is a serious infection.
- It is best suited for ageing adults and people who are overweight.
Laparoscopic appendix removal procedure is not recommended for everyone. There are certain conditions that would require the patient to undergo an open surgery instead of a laparoscopic surgery such as when the appendix has ruptures and the infection has spread to other organs or in case of a scar tissue in the abdomen due to any abdominal surgery in the past. The doctor will determine which type of surgery can be performed based on the severity of the appendicitis condition and patient’s medical history.
Complications of laparoscopic appendectomy
Complications of laparoscopic appendectomy are rare and do not appear often. These may include:
- Infection in surgery area or at incision site
- Hernia or a protruding lump in abdomen at or near site incision
- Blood clots
- Heart problems
- An abscess or collection of pus due to infection following surgery
When to see a doctor
If the patient experiences any of the following symptoms after surgery, it is critical to contact the doctor instantly:
- Sharp pain, cramping or swelling around the incision areas in the abdomen
- Fever above 101 degrees F or 38.5 degrees C
- Nausea or vomiting that persists for a long time
- Redness, blood, or pus & drainage from the surgery site
- Fatigue & weakness
- Loss of appetite or inability to eat or drink anything
- Constant coughing & shortness of breath or breathing difficulty
- No bowel movement for more than 2 days
For more information regarding appendectomy or appendix surgeries, you can contact the experts at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad.
Meet the best surgeons at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad
Dr. Ashish Gautam is a very renowned and highly experienced bariatric, gastrointestinal and trauma surgeon. After completing his surgical training from S.N. Medical College, Maulana Azad Medical College, Lok Nayak Hospital and Sushruta Trauma Centre, he pursued his fellowship in minimal access and bariatric surgery. He possesses enormous experience, having performed more than 20,000 laparoscopic procedures including advanced laparoscopic procedures such as lap colorectal, lap bariatric, laparoscopic common bile duct surgeries, and video-assisted thoracoscopic surgeries (VATS). Dr. Gautam has been a pioneer in establishing world-class bariatric (weight loss) surgery services in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. Rishi Singhal is the Visiting Consultant, Bariatric Surgery, Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre. Besides this, he is the Medical Director at Healthier Weight as well as Consultant Surgeon in the West Midlands under Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in Birmingham. He performs various laparoscopic and open general upper GI and bariatric surgical procedures including gastric banding, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and anti-reflux surgery, other than expertise in revisional bariatric surgery. In addition to this, he is highly experienced and proficient in carrying out benign upper GI surgery, bariatric surgery and resectional surgery for oesophago-gastric cancers.