While 38% of the 560,000 appendectomies performed annually in the U.S. use minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopic surgery), it’s projected that by 2014 more than 80% of appendectomies will be performed using a minimally invasive approach.21,15
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. The procedure can be especially useful for obese people and women of childbearing age.
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.
Watch an animation depicting the incisions and steps of an open and minimally invasive appendectomy.
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