A short incision will be made in the right lower abdomen. The appendix can be viewed through this incision. The appendix will be detached from surrounding tissue. Any bleeding from the blood vessels will be stopped. The appendix will then be tied off and cut out. The incisions will then be closed with stitches or staples.
If the appendix has ruptured, a warm water solution mixed with antibiotics will be used to wash out the inside of the abdomen. A catheter will then be placed to drain any fluid that builds up. Sometimes, with a rupture, the surgeon will only close the muscle layers and leave the skin open. The open skin wound will then be packed with a moist gauze dressing.
The removed tissue is examined by a pathologist.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
You may be in the hospital for up to 3 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medication to prevent blood clots
Getting out of bed and moving around within 24 hours of your surgery
If your appendix ruptured, drainage tubes will be removed after a few days.
Your bowels will work more slowly than usual. Chewing gum may help speed the process of your bowel function returning to normal.
Recovery takes about 4-6 weeks.
When you return home:
Rest and take it easy for 1-2 weeks. Slowly increase activities as approved by your doctor.
Do not exercise or do heavy lifting for one or more weeks as directed by your doctor.
Care for the incision as instructed to prevent infection.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Increased redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge at the incision site
Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
Increased abdominal pain
Lightheadedness or fainting
Passing blood in the stool
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 3/23/2015
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