If you have been told that you have a condition of your appendix, such as an infection known as “appendicitis,” you may benefit from the surgical removal of your appendix. This type of surgery is known as an appendectomy. At Advanced Laparoscopic Associates (ALA), our surgical experts specialize in appendectomy surgeries. Here is what you need to know about this procedure, including the process and what it can treat.

What Is an Appendectomy?

An appendectomy is a surgical procedure that removes your appendix. Your appendix is a worm-like protrusion located at the beginning of your large intestine (cecum), close to the end of your small intestine (ileum). Removing your appendix will not cause any long-term problems because the organ is not essential, and its function is actually largely unknown. Your appendix has long been referred to as a vestigial organ, meaning that it may be a remnant of an organ that was once used in early humans but is no longer functional. Recently, scientists have shown that the appendix may be beneficial for providing “good bacteria” to your gut, but it is still considered non-essential.

Why Is an Appendectomy Performed?

There are a few different indications for an appendectomy. A surgeon will consider an appendectomy if you have a condition known as appendicitis, typically caused by an infection of the lining of the appendix. Surgery can be particularly useful if the infection of the appendix is not improving with antibiotics or if it is a pronounced infection such as one that has caused the appendix to burst or “rupture.”

Other reasons that an appendix might be removed include cancer of the appendix, Crohn’s disease, or diverticulosis.

What Types of Appendectomies Are Performed?

At ALA, surgeons aim to perform the least invasive, most effective surgeries possible. Two types of appendectomies are performed at ALA: a laparoscopic appendectomy and an open appendectomy.

In a laparoscopic appendectomy, a surgeon makes a few small incisions in the abdomen and inflates it with air to visualize the appendix with a small camera. Small tools are then used to remove the appendix. This type of appendectomy typically has a faster recovery time.

In an open appendectomy, a surgeon makes a larger single incision in the abdomen to remove the appendix. This incision is usually about 2 to 4 inches long. This open approach is necessary if a less-invasive laparoscopic surgery can’t be performed due to a rupture of the appendix or the development of an abscess in the abdomen.

Appendectomy Recovery

Your recovery from an appendectomy depends on several factors, including the method of removal of the appendix and whether your appendix burst before your surgery. After your surgery, you may stay in the hospital for a couple of days so that your surgeons can ensure you are healing well and your bowels are functioning properly. It may take a few weeks until you are fully recovered.

Like any surgery, appendectomies carry with them a risk of bleeding, infection, and intolerance of anesthesia. If an appendix has ruptured before the removal of the appendix, there is a higher risk of an infection inside the abdomen after surgery, too. However, most people can have their appendix removed before it ruptures and recover quickly after surgery.

How to Get Treatment

An appendectomy can be a helpful treatment for people struggling with symptoms stemming from a problem with their appendix. Surgeons who specialize in appendectomies perform various other surgeries, including those that can relieve symptoms like acid reflux or GERD. If you have been experiencing appendicitis symptoms or GERD, contact ALA today.

Call (201) 646-1121 today and schedule your consultation with one of our surgeons!


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