Appendectomy Overview

Appendectomy Overview

Approximately 81% of the 520,000 appendectomies performed annually in the U.S. use minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopic surgery).460

Laparoscopic appendectomy patients may return to work sooner than those who have a traditional "open" surgery. Along with less pain and lower risk of infection, it also typically requires a shorter hospital stay. Because it causes little or no scarring, the cosmetic advantages of a laparoscopic appendectomy appeal to patients as well.

There are risks with any surgery, such as adverse reactions to medications, problems with anesthesia, problems breathing, bleeding, blood clots, inadvertent injury to nearby organs and blood vessels, even death. The procedure for removal of the appendix has its own risks, including slowing down of the intestinal tract (paralytic ileus), wound infection with possible abscess formation, post-operative bowel leak, and pneumonia. Patients should consult their physicians to determine if this procedure is appropriate for their condition.

In a traditional "open" appendectomy surgery, a 2- to 3-inch abdominal incision is made, cutting through the muscles in the lower right quadrant. The same procedure can be performed minimally invasively, where several small ¾- inch incisions allow a laparoscope (a miniature camera) to guide specialized surgical instruments via video monitor.

Both surgeries effectively and safely remove the appendix. But the differences in scarring, healing time and cost make the minimally invasive approach to appendectomy particularly appealing.

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