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What is an appendectomy?

An appendectomy is a kind of surgery involving appendix removal, and it is completed when the appendix is infected, a condition called appendicitis.

There are two methods used for appendectomies:

  1. Open appendectomy: With this procedure, a cut or incision between 2-4 inches long is made in the lower right side of the abdomen. The surgeon is then able to remove the appendix through this incision.
  2. Laparoscopic appendectomy: This procedure is less invasive than the open appendectomy since it is completed without having to make a large incision. Instead, a surgeon makes 1-3 small cuts, and a laparoscope is placed into one of them. Attached to the laparoscope is a small video camera that offers visualization to the surgeon. Through this, the surgeon can guide their tools and removes the appendix through one of the incisions.

In the case of a burst appendix, an open appendectomy is often needed because of the spread of infection.

For both procedures, the risk of complications is low, although a laparoscopy appendectomy offers a shorter hospital stay and easier recovery.

Why are appendectomies important?

Appendectomies are important procedures because untreated appendicitis can lead to a burst appendix, which is a medical emergency.

An appendix burst or rupture can occur in as little as 48 to 72 hours after displaying symptoms of appendicitis, which is why appendectomies are often emergency surgeries. If an appendix bursts, it causes peritonitis, which is a serious and life-threatening infection in the abdomen.