Appendectomy

Most people who have appendicitis have surgery to take out the appendix. This surgery is called an appendectomy.

Before surgery, the patient is given medicines called anesthesia. These medicines make them sleep and keep them from feeling pain during surgery.

Surgery may be done with a camera and small instruments using three or four tiny incisions, or cuts, on the patient’s belly. This is called laparoscopic surgery. Surgery may also be done with a single, larger incision. This is called open surgery.

During surgery, the appendix is removed from the patient’s body. Then the incisions are closed with staples or stitches.

The surgery usually takes about an hour. Afterward the patient may feel groggy from the anesthesia for a few hours.

Most patients recover quickly from surgery and go home by the next day. Some stay in the hospital for an extra day. 

Most patients will:

  • Eat and drink shortly after surgery

  • Be sent home with pain medicine to take as needed

  • Return to normal activities after a week or so

What Are The Benefits?

Surgery for appendicitis cures the problem. Patients do not get appendicitis again after the appendix is removed.  

What Are The Risks?

About 1 out of 10 patients has a problem after an appendectomy. Most of these problems are minor, such as a skin infection where the incisions were made.

Serious problems may include infections or bleeding inside the belly, or leaking from the intestine where the appendix was attached. These problems do not happen very often. If they do occur, another surgery might be needed to fix them.